The FBI said Tuesday it is investigating a double homicide after the deaths of two soldiers found shot on Fort Bragg.
The bureau announced Tuesday that it is joining with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in seeking information from the public in connection with the deaths of Timothy Dumas Sr., 44, and Master Sgt. William Lavigne III, 37.
Both men were discovered on the North Carolina base on December 2 last year. They were each due to appear in court and had reportedly been under investigation for selling drugs at the time of their deaths.
A statement from the North Carolina post said the bodies were found in a training area and that their deaths were not related to official unit training.
According to the FBI news release, a gray 2016 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck belonging to Lavigne was found at the crime scene near Manchester Road in Cumberland County.
A dark colored 2015 Dodge Ram pick-up truck belonging to Dumas was found abandoned at another location, the news release said.
The FBI said they are trying to piece together a timeline for the two men before their deaths. It is understood LaVigne died of gunshot wounds; Dumas’ cause of death is listed as gunshot wounds to the chest and head.
The bodies of Master Sgt. William Lavigne II (left) and Army veteran Timothy Dumas (right) were both discovered on the North Carolina base on December 2, sending shockwaves through the military
The bureau announced Tuesday that it is joining with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in seeking information from the public in connection with the deaths of Timothy Dumas Sr., 44, and Master Sgt. William Lavigne III, 37
According to the Fayetteville Observer, Dumas was ‘supposed to appear in Forsyth County District Court on December 17 for charges of breaking and entering, communicating threats and impersonating a law enforcement officer.’
In that case, Dumas allegedly kicked down the door of an apartment before he told the male occupant that he was a police officer and made a series of threats.
Meanwhile, Lavigne ‘was supposed to appear in Cumberland County District Court on January 15 for a hit-and-run charge.’
The two cases have not been linked by reporters or law enforcement officials, and it is unknown how close Lavigne and Dumas actually were to one another.
An Army official told CBS News that ‘investigators suspect that it [their deaths] was a double homicide resulting from a drug deal gone wrong’.
Fort Bragg, covering nearly 172,000 acres, is one of the world’s largest military complexes, according to its website. It has approximately 57,000 military personnel, 11,000 civilian employees and 23,000 family members
Another defense official told the network that both Lavigne and Dumas had both ‘been under investigation for using and selling drugs’.
It was also revealed that Lavigne was allegedly responsible for the fatal shooting of Green Beret Mark Leshikar during an altercation back in 2018.
In a report with Connecting Vets and Radio.com, Leshikar’s family revealed how Lavigne had allegedly shot Leshikar dead inside his home two years ago but was never charged, despite inconsistencies in his account of the incident.
Lavigne had claimed that 33-year-old Leshikar, with whom he had been good friends, came at him with a screwdriver.
Sgt. First Class Mark Leshikar (pictured) was shot dead by Lavigne in March 2018 by Lavigne Cops said the shooting was justifiable despite inconsistencies in Lavigne’s story
Yet he initially told cops that Leshikar had killed himself, and in another version of events, said that he could not see Leshikar’s hands and would not have known if he had a screwdriver, according to Connecting Vets.
An investigating officer from the 1st Special Forces Command wrote in a memorandum that Lavigne was not credible in his retelling of the incident. However, the command still ruled that Leshikar’s death was in the line of duty.
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office also declared Leshikar’s death as a ‘justifiable homicide’.
Leshikar’s sister Nicole Rick told Connecting Vets that Lavigne and Leshikar were best friends but would often argue and both were involved in taking drugs.
Leshikar had a desk job in Fort Bragg after suffering from a traumatic brain injury due to an improvised explosive device detonating near him. He had served in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
His family said that he became addicted to Tramadol which he was prescribed to treat his brain injury and began to self-medicate with Valium.
Both men allegedly used cocaine.
‘I knew about Mark’s drugs, I knew about Billy’s drugs,’ Leshikar’s mother Tammy Mabey told Connecting Vets.
Lavigne would go on to have another brush with the law the following year.
In February 2019, he was charged with a felony for allegedly harboring an escapee but his court date, and the charge, later disappeared from the records.
Lavigne enlisted in the Army in 2001 and deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
In 2007, he graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to the 1st Special Forces with a follow-on assignment to US Army Special Operations Command.
Dumas served in the Army from 1996 to 2016.
In February 2019, Lavigne was charged with a felony for allegedly harboring an escapee but his court date, and the charge, later disappeared from the records (pictured above)
WRAL reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, that one body was found lying flat on the ground. The other was wrapped in a blanket near a pickup truck.
Fort Bragg, covering nearly 172,000 acres, is one of the world’s largest military complexes, according to its website. It has approximately 57,000 military personnel, 11,000 civilian employees and 23,000 family members.
The base was already in the news in early December last year after an autopsy report revealed that Fort Bragg paratrooper Spc. Enrique Roman Martinez who went missing during a camping trip with fellow soldiers in May had been decapitated.
Later that same month Sergeant Keith Lewis, 31, fatally shot his heavily pregnant wife in front of their three-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself in a murder-suicide, police said.
In October, Fort Bragg made headlines when a civilian worker on the base lewdly replied to pornographic content from Fort Bragg’s official Twitter account, which was later deleted.
Sergeant Keith Lewis, 31, fatally shot his heavily pregnant wife Sarah in front of their three-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself in a murder-suicide, police said.
Vanessa Guillén, left, the 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier who went missing for months before her remains were found in July. Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes was found hanging in August last year
A few weeks prior, tragedy struck on the base in North Carolina when Staff Sgt. Jason Lowe, 27, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division took his own life.
Lowe’s was the tenth suicide the 82nd Airborne Division has endured so far this year, a number that stood at four last year. In 2018, six division paratroopers took their own lives; four did so in 2017.
Fort Bragg is just the latest Army base to face intense scrutiny in recent months, joining the likes of Fort Hood, where Vanessa Guillen was murdered, and Fort Bliss where a soldier was charged with the sexual assault of a soldier from his unit who was found dead almost exactly one year later.
Pfc. Christian G. Alvarado, a soldier listed in the 1st Armored Division at the Texas base, has been formally accused of three sexual assaults.
Among them, Alvarado is accused of raping 19-year-old Pfc. Asia Graham while she was unconscious on December 30 2019, at Fort Bliss.
On New Year’s Eve 2020 Graham, 19, was found dead in her barracks.
Staff Sgt John D.S. Bailey, 27, took his own life at an on-post residence at Fort Bliss, after his father said his son’s ‘demons overcame him.’
Eleven soldiers then fell ill after drinking antifreeze thinking it was alcohol while on duty during field exercise at the troubled base.