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Long Co. murder suspects denied bond
Four soldiers currently in custody, facing charges
web 1214 Suspect walk
U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Burnett, 26, left, and Pvt. Christopher Salmon, 25, center, are led away in handcuffs after their appearance Monday before a magistrate judge at the Long County Sheriffs Office in Ludowici. - photo by Lewis Levine

ATLANTA — Four soldiers were charged in the shooting deaths of a former serviceman and his teenage girlfriend whose bodies were discovered by fishermen in southeast Georgia.

The four active duty soldiers were denied bond Monday in a Long County court. Pvt. Christopher Salmon and Sgt. Anthony Peden, both 25, face malice murder charges. Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, 19, and Pfc. Michael Burnett, 26, are charged with being a party to murder.

The men were arrested on Saturday, days after two fishermen found the bodies of Michael Roark, 19, and Tiffany York, 17, near a rural road. Authorities would not say what led them to the four suspects, but they said they all knew Roark.
“They were friends, if you could call it that,” said Capt. Nickey Anderson of the Long County Sheriff’s Office.

Defense attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment, and relatives of the men didn’t return calls.
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.

However, McDaniel said, investigators do believe the four suspects and Roark — who was accompanied by his girlfriend, York — had arranged a meeting Monday evening at Morgan Lake Road in Long County.  

“It’s a very serious and unusual crime for two young people of this age to be killed,” McDaniel said.

The soldiers belonged to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, according to Fort Stewart public affairs officer Lt. Col. Ben Garrett. Roark was released from the service Dec. 2, but no additional details were provided.

The victims’ bodies were found Dec. 6, a day after the two were believed to be killed.

Anderson said authorities believe Roark was soon planning to move to Washington state, where his mother lived. He said Roark had been dating York, a high school junior, for several months when the shooting took place.

Investigators said additional charges could be filed in the ongoing investigation. McDaniel, Salmon, Peden, Aguigui and Burnett currently are incarcerated in the Liberty County Law Enforcement Center in Hinesville.

“We’re still working,” McDaniel said. “We’ve still got things to do and it’s not 100 percent complete.”

Courier correspondent Mike Riddle contributed to this report.

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