WENATCHEE — A former Cashmere man is among four U.S. Army soldiers arrested in the killing of a former serviceman and his girlfriend in Georgia.
Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, 19, is charged with two counts of being a party to a crime of murder in the deaths of Michael Roark, 20, and Tiffany York, 17. Two fishermen found their bodies on Dec. 6, the day after investigators believe they were killed, according to the Associated Press. The bodies were found on private land in Long County, said Capt. Nickey Anderson of the Long County Sheriff’s Department.
The soldiers are members of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based at Fort Stewart in southeast Georgia. Military officials said Roark was released from the service on Dec. 2, but did not give other details.
Aguigui and the three other soldiers were arrested Dec. 10, the Associated Press reported. Pvt. Christopher Salmon and Sgt. Anthony Peden, both 25, are charged with malice murder. Pfc. Michael Burnett, 26, is charged with two counts of being a party to murder. The four active duty soldiers were denied bond Monday in a Long County court.
Authorities would not say what led them to the four suspects, but they said the four soldiers all knew Roark.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Mike McDaniel said the victims were shot in the head, but he declined to discuss a possible motive or other details of the investigation, according to the Associated Press.
A Serving the Nation news article in The Wenatchee World in August 2010 said that Aguigui was a 2009 home-school graduate, and is the son of Annette and Edward Aguigui of Cashmere.
Edward Aguigui said Tuesday that he has not heard from any authorities in Georgia or from his son about the charges. “We don’t know any more than has been in the media,” he said. “This is such a tragedy that has happened and our hearts are so broken, and go out to the family.”
Federal authorities are also looking into why the four soldiers were collecting military-grade weapons, said Richard Coes, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Georgia.
After search warrants at two of the soldiers’ homes found a total of 16 guns, ATF agents were called into do ballistics checks on the weapons, Coes said. None of the weapons was the murder weapon, he said.
“They were expensive weapons, mostly military-grade, long guns like rifles,” he said. “They (the soldiers) appear to be a loosely-knit group of individuals that collaborated to purchase the guns.”
Coes said agents do not know why the soldiers had so many guns.
“It doesn’t look like they were trying to distribute them,” Coes said. “Whatever it was, it was extremely odd to gather that collection of guns.”
Dee Riggs: 664-7147