Local News

Bragg soldier Kelli Bordeaux's remains found; suspect arrested

Posted May 14
Updated May 15

— Police investigators said Wednesday they believe they have found the remains of a 23-year-old Fort Bragg soldier who disappeared more than two years ago and a suspect has been arrested.

Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock said Pfc. Kelli Bordeaux's remains were found Wednesday morning in a deeply wooded area off River Road near the Interstate 295 corridor – approximately 4 miles from the bar where she was last seen alive in the early morning of April 14, 2012.

Nicholas Michael Holbert, 27, a man who has been interviewed numerous times by investigators, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. He remained at the Cumberland County jail early Thursday with no bond.

"This is a very sad recovery in that we all hoped Pfc. Bordeaux was alive and well," Medlock said. "But we also are comforted in this community that we have taken an individual off the streets who has created this terrible tragedy."

Holbert "shared vital information" and was at the scene with detectives when they found Bordeaux's remains in the very-wooded, dense area, the police chief said. He would not confirm reports that Holbert confessed.

"With the help of a citizen, we were able to bring this case to a conclusion," Medlock said.

It will take several days to confirm the remains are those of Bordeaux, Medlock said, but he said there was "enough" forensic information to believe that the remains are hers.

"Unfortunately, while the case is two years and some months old, the fact is that were still now beginning to process and backtrack and connecting the dots with what we've found today with what we've learned about the night of her disappearance," he said. "So, there's still a lot of work to be done."

Bordeaux's family went 'through hell and back'

A combat medic with Fort Bragg's 601st Area Support Medical Company 44th Medical Brigade, Bordeaux was last seen leaving a bar at 6326 Ramsey St. in north Fayetteville called Froggy Bottoms.

Bordeaux's family was notified Wednesday afternoon, Medlock said. Her sister, Olivia Cox, said the news was only partially comforting.

"I think my initial reaction was that I was more mad than anything," she said. "I mean, why today of all days? What made you decide to say something, and on top of that, what made you wait so long? We literally have been through hell and back begging and pleading and praying, just trying to bring her home."

Cox described the more than two year wait as unfair.

"I don't feel any better about the situation than I did yesterday," she said. "The knowledge of knowing that she's not being held captive, that she's not being tortured, that's where the partial relief comes in. But the fact that this is the end result. I mean two years and one month of begging, and this is it?"

Fort Bragg officials, who reported her missing April 16, 2012, released statements afternoon saying they were "deeply saddened" by Wednesday's discovery.

"We honor her memory and will always remember her vibrant spirit, her love of life and her loyal and dedicated service to our Army and nation as a combat medic," Bordeaux's battalion commander, Lt. Col. Heather A. Kness, said in a statement.

Arrest warrants: Holbert repeatedly hit Bordeaux

In the years since Bordeaux's disappearance, police have released few details about their investigation.

What they have said is that two text messages were sent from her cellphone after she left Froggy Bottoms, including one that said she had arrived home. Investigators have said they don't believe Bordeaux sent that one.

Arrest warrants issued Wednesday and obtained by The Fayetteville Observer, say that Holbert and Bordeaux arrived together at the now-closed Froggy Bottoms and were there for several hours before getting into a fight in the parking lot. Holbert hit Bordeaux and knocked her unconscious, the warrant says.

He then put Bordeaux in his car and drove her to his camp site behind the bar, where he hit her several more times in the head, the warrant continues.

Medlock said Wednesday that detectives think Bordeaux was dead when Holbert allegedly dumped her body in the woods – an area that had no specific connection to him.

"He just simply located it at the spur of the moment," he said.

Holbert's reaction to his arrest, Medlock said, appeared to be one of both nervousness and relief.

A registered sex offender, Holbert was a frequent patron of Froggy Bottoms. The bar's owner, Steve Cantrell, said in 2012 that Holbert often worked odd jobs in the area in exchange for food.

Cantrell said he also had been living in a lean-to in the woods behind the bar after being released from prison, where he spent seven years for indecent liberties with a child and child abuse.

Bordeaux, of St. Cloud, Fla., had been married for two years. Her husband was visiting family in Florida at the time of her disappearance.

The case attracted nationwide attention for months and drew volunteers from across the country to Fayetteville to help investigators and the military search for Bordeaux in secluded areas around Froggy Bottoms and in north Fayetteville.

Medlock said the site where Bordeaux's remains were discovered hadn't been actively searched.

"This is a place that she could’ve been – with all those hundreds of acres in that 4-mile stretch – she could have been virtually anywhere," Medlock said. "It was specific information from Holbert that took us to that location."

Numerous sheriff's deputies guarded the crime scene Wednesday afternoon as investigators moved ATVs and generators into the area to begin recovery efforts.

"It was difficult to locate her remains," Medlock said.

52 Comments

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  • gingerlynn May 15, 2:48 p.m.

    How, how, HOW can this happen?! Look! This guy was registered! There's NO WAY for a... View More

    — Posted by katzpauz

    The sex offender registry only seems to help after the offender reoffends. Sometimes.

  • katzpauz May 15, 2:22 p.m.

    How, how, HOW can this happen?! Look! This guy was registered! There's NO WAY for a dangerous, violent, sick pervert that's been placed on the registry, to have been capable of such an act! The Sex Offender Registry makes us safer....doesn't it?! Or, or is it, a um, Jedi Mind Trick? Oh well, at least now he'll be properly punished (and rehabilitated) by serving time in a prison..... http://www.wral.com/pizza-parties-for-prisoners-good-cause-or-inappropriate-perk-/13645361/

  • datenobunaga2 May 15, 1:50 p.m.

    How can anyone come to an accurate conclusion about the nature of this woman's marriage. There could have been prior infidelity on his part, they may have an open marriage, or maybe he was preying on her by acting as a friend and shoulder to cry on while the husband was "away".

  • Obamacare returns again May 15, 1:39 p.m.

    So the suspect will plead not guilty, claiming he is psychic and the spirit of Kelli Bordeaux led him to the body.

    Sound about right?

  • gingerlynn May 15, 1:37 p.m.

    the article says he hit kocked her out in the parking lot and put her in his car. Where are you guys getting that she voluntarily got in the car with him? She should be able to go play POOL without getting killed. Sheesh. What century is this.

  • mack24 May 15, 1:36 p.m.

    Congratulations to all of those who feel personal responsibility and accountability should be thrown out the window. Yes, ALL men should be responsible and held accountable for their actions. I am truly saddened by all innocent victims out there who have been hurt or killed by sick monsters. Real men do not victimize ANYONE, ANYTHING. Unfortunately, I cannot consider this young lady "innocent" despite the unpopularity of my posts.

  • miccatheobald26 May 15, 1:35 p.m.

    so sad, feel for the family and glad they have someone to pay for http://dailyentertainmentnews.com/tv/top-10-facts-michael-holbert-fort-bragg-soldier-kelli-bordeaux-killer/ preyers to her family

  • alyewy May 15, 1:25 p.m.

    So let me get this straight. The Marshburn Investigation Agency is taking some credit for finding the body. Then I hear on the news that the suspect took authorities to the body. I am confused.

  • uBnice May 15, 12:31 p.m.

    What a sad and tragic conclusion to a story I hoped and prayed would end with finding this young... View More

    — Posted by mack24

    "...the result should have been foreseen" Are you kidding me?? So anybody who is married and... View More

    — Posted by acase27330

    No, "so" any woman who goes out alone, gets too drunk to walk back home, and gets in a car with... View More

    — Posted by 50s Child

    How about instead of blaming the victim we build a better society where men are taught to respec... View More

    — Posted by andreanicole686

    And as a man, I apologize that you have to feel that way. This is a man's problem for the most part. We men need to talk with our sons, brothers, friends, etc and emphasize that we need to temper our tantrums towards women. Unless a man's life is in danger, he has no business putting his hands on a woman violently.

  • JAT May 15, 12:13 p.m.

    WRALMODSAPPVPOSTSTHEYAGREEWITH - "Had this man been kept in prison for life for his first... View More

    — Posted by seankelly15

    Would that really be all that bad? They've MOLESTED a CHILD who has the life sentence of living with what happened to them. It's pretty equal to murder in my opinion.

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