Bordeaux murder suspect makes first court appearance
Posted May 15
Fayetteville, N.C. — A Fayetteville man arrested in the death of a 23-year-old Fort Bragg soldier missing for more than two years made his first appearance Thursday afternoon in Cumberland County courtroom.
Nicholas Michael Holbert, 27, is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the death of Pfc. Kelli Bordeaux, whose remains were discovered Wednesday morning in a heavily wooded area near the Interstate 295 corridor in northern Fayetteville.
District Judge David Hasty ordered Holbert be held in jail under a $250,000 bond on the kidnapping charge and without bond on the murder charge.
Arrest warrants obtained Wednesday by The Fayetteville Observer say that Holbert and Bordeaux arrived together at the now-closed Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville on the night of April 13, 2012, and were there for several hours before getting into a fight in the parking lot.
The warrants continue to allege that Holbert hit Bordeaux, knocked her unconscious, and then carried her in his car to where he lived behind the bar. There, he hit her several more times in the head until she died.
Holbert "shared vital information" with Fayetteville homicide detectives, Police Chief Harold Medlock said Wednesday, and was with them when they found Bordeaux's remains in the heavily wooded area off River Road, approximately 4 miles from the bar.
Bordeaux, a combat medic assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 44th Medical Brigade at Fort Bragg, was last seen alive on the early morning of April 14, 2012, at Froggy Bottoms, where she had gone to sing karaoke.
At the time, police believed she left the bar with a man she met there the week before, a person identified as a registered sex offender. She was reported missing two days later when she didn't report to work.
The man, whom police identified as Holbert, said he dropped off Bordeaux at the entrance to the apartment complex where she lived with her husband, who was in Florida visiting family that weekend.
Investigators said in 2012 that two text messages were sent from her cellphone after she left the bar, including one that said she had arrived home. Police, however, said they don't believe Bordeaux sent that one.
Bordeaux's disappearance attracted nationwide attention for months and drew volunteers from across the country to Fayetteville to help investigators and the military search for her.
Buddy Berube, an investigator with Marshburn Investigation Agency, said Wednesday night that his firm took a particular interest in the case and wanted to help the Bordeaux family.
They were never officially hired to help in the search, but the owner of the agency was present Wednesday when police located Bordeaux's body, Berube said.
"We started working this case about 22 months ago and started getting leads, and we just went with the leads that we had," Berube said. "We knew that we were making headway approximately a month ago, and it came together like a puzzle."
Berube said his firm worked "numerous hours, too many to count" in its search.
"There is so much emotion because you have recovered someone, a person that was missing," he said. "You are able to send them home, and that was basically what today was like. It was an overwhelming day."