True Crime Documentary Where is Private Dulaney? Unravels the Mystery Too Soon

With a title like Where is Private Dulaney? one would expect something a little more unsolved or a slew of suspects. The true crime documentary Where is Private Dulaney (dropping the question mark because spell checker loves to capitalize the next word automatically) starts off like a mystery but early on in the first of three episodes we have a suspect, Mark Fletcher.

This is the story of Private Leroy Dulaney stationed at Camp Lejeune, a military training base in North Carolina. You may be familiar with this place because of the radio advertisements about their awful water and the lawsuit. It’s all I knew about this place I had assumed was in Louisiana. It’s not. But it is somewhere as lawless.

Dulaney has gone AWOL, however, his family doesn’t believe this fits with his personality or situation. Countless other marines have also disappeared. It’s an open secret that Mark Fletcher is the one responsible.

Where is Private Dulaney is exactly what I was hoping another documentary I watched, Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn, would be. The problem I had is it quickly becomes a he-said, she-said with a tug-of-war back and forth.

Where is Private Dulaney goes fully nude too early on

This is technically not an unsolved crime because they get the bad guy in the end. Like a lot of solved killings, there are details many doubt. Exactly who was an accomplice of Fletcher? If you like a documentary like this, you probably won’t mind Where is Private Dulaney.

My issues with this three-parter is the confusion. I rank memorizing military ranks and names up there with trying to recall the names of characters in a foreign TV show. When something is unfamiliar in your world, like military rankings, it can be a little difficult to follow. We also hear a lot of reenacted audio from people we don’t see on camera. I was definitely not sure of who was who for a long time.

Where is Private Dulaney suffers mostly because investigations on military bases are conducted by the stationed police. It’s their own little world. We don’t hear from investigators. This is what is lacking in this documentary. We needed someone close to the case to help guide us. Instead, several different family members of Private Dulaney including his widow and mother lead the way.

His mother, by the way, is the best featured player in this documentary. She has balls for days. The documentary couldn’t have used too much of her. Two incredible moments involving her show how much she loves her son and why you don’t mess with a mama. One had her marching into the office of the highest ranking official and telling him she was his boss because she’s a taxpayer. Even more memorable, she and another son actually have Fletcher, the suspected murderer, in the car with them. He manages to escape through the window.

Where is Private Dulaney is not a bad documentary by any means. It is scrambled, though. The story doesn’t have a strong linear timeline. Not enough time is spent on two other marines allegedly killed by Fletcher either. We do get to hear from Fletcher closer to the end of the documentary. His audio isn’t captivating or memorable. He just lies, admits he lies, and says in this case he isn’t lying about being innocent.

This documentary has the content to be great but reveals the answer too early and leaves very little interpretation for anything else to have happened. It was a big mistake.

Overall Score: 5 out of 10

Where is Private Dulaney is a worthy watch. It’s a little hard to stick with. I didn’t find myself wanting to see what comes next because, well, they drop their drawers on the first date.

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