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Army investigating mysterious deaths of soldier and veteran at Fort Bragg

Two men, a soldier with deep Special Forces experience and an Army veteran, were found dead on a training area at Fort Bragg in North Carolina — and officials are offering few details on what occurred.

Their bodies were discovered together on Wednesday, prompting an investigation, the Army said. On Friday, officials identified Army Master Sgt. William J. Lavigne II, 37, as one of the men but did not release further information.

Early signs suggest the men may have been engaged in criminal activity before their deaths, according to a defense official familiar with the incident. Their remains were found together in a remote part of the training area, with one body in a car, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the circumstances are under investigation.

It remains unclear what happened at the scene and if other people might have been involved.

The veteran, Timothy Dumas, 44, also had a Special Forces background, the official said. He had previously served at Fort Bragg.

The Army Criminal Investigations Command, the equivalent of the service’s FBI and the investigating agency for the deaths, declined to comment.

A woman who identified herself as Lavigne’s ex-wife declined to comment and did not provide contact information for his family members. Dumas’s family could not be reached for comment.

Lavigne enlisted in the Army in 2001. He was later assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group and served on numerous Special Operations deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army said in a statement.

He was last assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company at Army Special Operations Command.

“The loss of a soldier is always tragic,” Lt. Col. Justin Duvall, his commander, said in a statement. “Our condolences go out to his family during this difficult time.”