A Maine soldier who survived a 2009 attack in Afghanistan was found stabbed to death in an Olympia, Wash., apartment building late last week.
Police and the Thurston County (Washington) Coroner’s Office confirmed Monday that Pvt. Nathaniel Ollis, 29, who grew up in Harrison, Maine, was the man police found dead in an apartment Friday afternoon of multiple stab wounds.
Ollis lived in various places in Maine during his life, including Mexico, Auburn and Lewiston, in addition to Harrison.
Detectives with Olympia Police Department arrested two men connected with the case Sunday night after a multicounty car chase involving multiple law enforcement agencies that ended in a crash.
Dwight M. Bradsbery and Trey N. Jones, both 20, were charged in connection with the case.
Bradsbery is charged with second-degree murder, residential burglary and theft of a motor vehicle. He is being held at the Thurston County Jail on $1 million bail. Jones was charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance, residential burglary and theft of a motor vehicle. He is being held on $150,000 bail.
Coroner Gary Warnock reported Ollis died of multiple stab and slash wounds to his head, neck, torso and upper extremities. He was an active duty soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which is about 17 miles outside Olympia.
The Olympian in Washington reported Monday detectives are still investigating a possible motive for Ollis’ homicide.
The newspaper cited probable cause declarations released by police in support of arresting Bradsbery and Jones.
According to the newspaper, a witness reported to police that she saw one of the suspects assaulting Ollis from behind on Thursday, the day before his body was found. One suspect told an Olympia detective he and others helped clean blood from the crime scene on Friday.
The newspaper reported the man told authorities he masterminded the cleanup effort because he was the smartest one of the group. The same suspect also told detectives he was injecting methamphetamine during Sunday’s police chase.
According to the newspaper, the other suspect admitted to detectives he attacked the victim from behind and stabbed him multiple times with a knife. The man told police he broke the knife during the attack, left the blade in the body and discarded the handle.
Meanwhile, family in Maine are struggling to cope with loss of Ollis — who survived a 2009 explosion in Afghanistan that killed three of his close friends. The Olympian in Washington State reported Monday the 2009 explosion was caused by a bomb that went off outside a village called Omar Zai. Ollis was traveling in a Stryker vehicle.
Ollis’ uncle, Robert Seavey, of Harrison, said the family was very proud of Nathaniel and everything he had accomplished in his life. He said his nephew’s mother was not prepared to talk to the media Monday night. He did add the family thanked the Olympia Police Department and its efforts to make two arrests so quickly.
“He was an artist. He was a musician. He was a father,” said Ollis’ wife, Callie, of Leeds. “He was beautiful. He had so many friends. He just made friends so easily.”
Callie Ollis said her husband was just weeks away from being discharged from the Army, but did not live on base. Like so many soldiers returning from war in the Middle East, she said he had struggled since being injured in the 2009 attack. According to The Olympian, Nathaniel Ollis suffered shattered heels but still managed to attend funeral services for those soldiers killed in the attack just days later.
Ollis said the couple hadn’t seen one another in more than a year, but remained in regular contact via phone.
She wants more than anything to remember the days when she and her husband loaded their three sleeping children into the car at 3:30 a.m. — determined for their kids to awake to sunrise on the beach.
“He had this empathy thing going on,” Callie Ollis said. “He just knew what you were feeling.”
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