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Detective finds remains he says belong to slain Bragg soldier Kelli Bordeaux

Posted January 12, 2015

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— A private investigator who located the body of a missing Fort Bragg soldier and helped Fayetteville police arrest a suspect in her death said Monday that he has found more of her remains that authorities missed at the crime scene.

Pfc. Kelli Bordeaux was missing for more than two years before her remains were found in a wooded area off Interstate 295 in Cumberland County last May. An autopsy determined she died of several blows to the head.

Nicholas Michael Holbert, a 27-year-old drifter, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the case. Police say he and Bordeaux were arguing outside a Fayetteville bar in April 2012 when he knocked her out, drove her into the woods, beat her to death and buried her.

According to the autopsy report, authorities weren't able to recover all of Bordeaux's remains. Police told her mother, Johnna Henson, they did the best they could, and she wasn't satisfied when they refused to return to the crime scene to search for more remains.

"If your daughter was buried out in the woods, wouldn't you want her all back, not just parts of her?" Henson said. "A major bone in her neck is missing that shows that she was choked. They're not concerned that there are two of those bones and one is missing. That's very concerning to me."

So, she hired David Marshburn, a Smithfield private investigator who befriended Holbert and eventually persuaded Holbert to lead him to Bordeaux's body.

Marshburn said he returned to the wooded area on Sunday and found more remains that he is convinced belong to the former Fort Bragg medic.

"I was the original one who was on the site when we found her," he said.

He turned the bones over to Fayetteville police, and they have been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for identification.

"I hope that what we have done will help change some of the procedures that the Fayetteville police go through and the way they handle certain cases," he said. "I am not saying that they didn't do their job, but they could have done better."

Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock defended his department's efforts to recover Bordeaux's remains, adding that he couldn't provide addition details of their work because of the pending case against Holbert.

"The detectives, officers, deputies and forensic technicians with the Fayetteville Police Department, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office and a forensic archaeologist invested an enormous amount of time and resources during the two days investigators and personnel remained at the site," Medlock said in a letter to WRAL News. "Investigators recovered enough evidence to warrant a charge of 1st Degree Murder against the suspect. In every case, the Fayetteville Police Department strives to return a victim to their family in a fashion that they remember their loved one."

Henson was so grateful to Marshburn that she gave him her daughter's dog tags as a show of appreciation.

Marshburn said he's always felt a personal mission to bring Bordeaux home, and he said he hopes his latest discovery will accomplish that goal.

9 Comments

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  • Ronnie Merritt Jan 13, 2015
    user avatar

    RIP PFC Bordeaux. Thank you for your service. Prayers for your family....

  • babylaceycarpenter Jan 13, 2015

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    No sign up sheet. You are born into it.

  • Deb Rodgers Jan 13, 2015
    user avatar

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    Wow, hundreds or thousands of cases to be solved that are more important than finding all of the remains of a dead woman, which were actually found in the vicinity? Fayetteville is worse than I thought! Hundreds or thousands....

  • SAY 'WHAT" ONE MORE TIME! Jan 13, 2015

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    This guy was working one murder case, hardly comparable to the hundreds or thousands of murder, robbery, drug, abuse cases LE works every day. I don't come close to claiming that LE and our judicial system is perfect but you've got yourself an apple and an orange here

  • johnnymanziel Jan 13, 2015

    It's no wonder crime is running rampant in Fayetteville. Lazy, incompetent and sloppy police work is the reason.

  • moomoo Jan 13, 2015

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    Rest assured the private investigator was not "free".

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 13, 2015

    If the remains really are hers, there's absolutely no excuse for the sorry performance of the Fayetteville police. At the very least, you form a line and walk the area.

  • Chip Dipson Jan 13, 2015
    user avatar

    Where do I sign up to be part of the entitlement class?

  • simplylindsey2010 Jan 13, 2015

    Ho-hum the private sector out performs the public sector once again. But yet we have academians, government functionaries, unions and members of the entitlement class demanding we tax the producers to give government more money at every turn.