Editor’s Note: This report is limited to the latest information obtained by SOFREP about the death of MSG Lavigne and Timothy Dumas. Their deaths underscore larger issues such as over-deployment, fatigue and administrative oversight that negatively affect the Special Operations Community. SOFREP will be investigating these aspects further in subsequent reports.
It was the afternoon of December 2. A hunter out for a deer was on federal reservation property adjacent to the sprawling Army base of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He had only driven his truck about half a mile up the soft dirt track road in the area between the Holland Drop Zone and Lake MacArthur when he found his path blocked by a gray late-model, crew-cab pickup truck. The vehicle appeared to have been stuck in the soft sand up to its rear axle.
Exiting his vehicle he immediately noticed the shape of a body lying in the pine straw about 30ft away from the truck. It was a black male in his late 30s, wearing civilian clothes. He had a small puncture wound on the right side of his head near the temple. The hunter contacted 911 and told them someone had been injured while trying to free his vehicle from the sand and may have had a heart attack.
According to an eyewitness source, within an hour, more than 20 Army Military Police officers, plainclothes officers of the Army’s Criminal Investigations Unit, and medical personnel had cordoned off the area and were processing it as a crime scene. The deceased man lying face down in the pine straw was Timothy J. Dumas, 44, an Army Warrant Officer of 19 years service. He had died of an apparent gunshot wound to the head by what is currently believed to have been a small-caliber handgun.
SOFREP has the exact location of the initial crime scene but will not disclose it to prevent anyone from disturbing it while the investigation is ongoing.
An inspection of the gray pickup truck revealed the body of a second man curled into a fetal position, clothed only in a pair of boxer shorts and covered by an army-issue, insulated poncho liner. His body bore multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. Blood was leaking under the closed tailgate and onto the ground below it. According to a source who spoke to SOFREP on the condition of anonymity, Army investigators discovered that the truck belonged to 37-year-old William J. Lavigne II, an Army Master Sergeant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Army Special Operations Command. He had been previously assigned to 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, also known as “The Unit” or “Delta Force.”
Another source speaking on condition of anonymity stated that Lavigne had outstanding warrants for his arrest. SOFREP attempted to verify this claim using a search of public records and subscription-based personal records searches. We were not only unable to verify whether any warrants existed but after an extensive search, we could not find any reference to William J. Lavigne II. We could find the known relatives of MSG Lavigne, but information on Lavigne himself appears to have been masked to the point that he does not show up in cross-reference searches that should have connected him to his own family members. SOFREP now has Police Reports in its possession from Fayetteville PD and Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department that show MSG Lavigne had been previously charged with a raft of felony charges for harboring an escapee on September 26, 2018. The arrest report includes a list of property seized from Lavigne at the time of the arrest which included firearms, narcotics, a crack pipe, and a digital scale. The escapee is believed to have been his girlfriend at the time.
Charges against Lavigne included possession of narcotics, drug paraphernalia, and firearms present with illegal narcotics. All charges were later listed as “Dismissal Without Leave by DA” which meant the State of North Carolina could not refile these charges again. The case was disposed of nearly one year ago on December 4, 2019.
In a case filed in the Cumberland County Criminal Court on October 30, 2020, Lavigne was charged in a felony hit-and-run accident with property damage after rear-ending another vehicle at a traffic light. That case was pending and had a scheduled court appearance for January 2021.
Reporting by CBS last week stated that both Lavigne and Dumas were the subjects of a larger investigation involving the distribution of narcotics.
Several media sources report that investigators have recovered an unknown number of shell casings from the scene but no weapons. SOFREP sources confirmed this as well. The presence of shell casings but not a firearm suggests that a third, and perhaps a fourth, person may be involved.
Investigators believe the time of death was likely to have been several days prior to the discovery of the bodies on December 2. The Ft. Bragg area had rainy weather the afternoon of November 29 and into the next day. These rains would have disturbed the tracks left in the sand by one or more vehicles that would have traveled down the dirt road before or on the 29th. Thus, the tracks found by investigators are believed to have occurred after the 30th. Unfortunately, the soft and loose sand in this area does not leave clear impressions of tire treads that investigators could match to a tire type, size, and possible vehicle type to aid them in identifying others who may have been involved in these murders and who would be driving a second vehicle.
After identifying the body of Dumas, CID investigators accompanied by local authorities of the Pinehurst Village Police Department went to the Dumas household located in Pinehurst, North Carolina, just a few miles from the initial crime scene, where additional evidence was gathered. A law enforcement source told us that Army CID asserted federal jurisdiction over the investigation. This strongly suggests that the Dumas home was not an additional crime scene but was just searched for evidence. The residence of MSG Lavigne appears to be unknown at this time even to Army investigators. SOFREP arranged for a visit to the latest of Lavigne’s addresses gleaned from police reports and court filings in order to inquire about his residency as a possible crime scene. The tenant at the property stated they had been residing there for several months and did not know Lavigne or who the previous tenant was, but had been visited by law enforcement authorities making similar inquiries in the last three days.
A call to a cell phone known to have been owned by Lavigne goes to a voicemail asking you to leave a message for the “Detective Division” of an unknown agency.
As this report is being written, WRAL News in Fayetteville reports that police recovered the body of Corey Locklear in a rural wooded area a few miles from the location where the bodies of Dumas and Lavigne were recovered. It is not known at this time if these two incidents are linked, but Locklear was reported missing a week ago. This was approximately on the date investigators believe the murders of Dumas and Lavigne took place. Additionally, the crime scenes are of the same type.
Multiple sources have told SOFREP that Army CID wants to keep a very tight lid on the investigation promising “swift and dire consequences” for any leaks to the press. As of this reporting, a call with a request for comments to Chris Grey, Chief Public Affairs Officer for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, has not been returned.
This is a developing story. We will continue to report on it as new facts come to light. If you have information about MSG Lavigne or Timothy Dumas or their deaths that would assist us in our reporting, you can send us a secure message to: [email protected]