RALEIGH, N.C. — An autopsy has found that a Fort Bragg solider found dead this summer on North Carolina’s Outer Banks was decapitated.
The Raleigh News & Observer reports that Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez’s death was a homicide, but the cause of death remains undetermined because only his head was available for examination, according to the Division of Forensic Pathology at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine.
“While decapitation is, in and of itself, universally fatal, the remainder of the body in this case was not available for examination, and therefore potential causes of death involving the torso and extremities cannot be excluded,” the report states.
Among the findings: “Evidence of multiple chop injuries of the head” and a jaw broken in at least two places, the report says.
Roman-Martinez, 21, was a native of Chino, California, and a human resource specialist assigned to Headquarters Company, 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He was reported missing May 23, while on a Memorial Day weekend camping trip with fellow soldiers at Cape Lookout National Seashore.
When Roman-Martinez’s partial remains were first discovered on May 29, Army Criminal Investigative Command declined to comment on why the death was classified a homicide.
Master Sgt. William J. Lavigne II deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism while assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
“The remains washed up on Shackleford Banks Island, part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, an area where the prevailing tides have unfortunately washed ashore remains in years past,” a press release stated at the time. “A positive identification was made using the soldier’s dental records.”
A $25,000 reward has been offered for tips leading to an arrest and conviction in the case, the Army says. To date, no arrests have been announced.