Local News

Police release new photo of missing Fort Bragg soldier

Posted April 26, 2012 11:29 a.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2012 5:39 p.m. EDT

— Fayetteville police on Thursday released a photo of a missing Fort Bragg soldier taken the night she was last seen nearly two weeks ago.

Jeff Locklear, a police detective heading the search for Pfc. Kelli Bordeaux, said at a news conference Thursday that Bordeaux took the photo of herself with her iPhone 4S before going out the night of April 13.

The 23-year-old from St. Cloud, Fla., was last seen as she left a Ramsey Street bar called Froggy Bottoms around 1:20 a.m. April 14. Fort Bragg officials reported her missing when she didn't show up for work on April 16.

In the photo, she is wearing a pink tube top and black shorts. Unseen is a pair of flip-flops that Locklear described as being "bedazzled."

"This photo is a true and accurate depiction of how she was dressed and what she was wearing," Locklear said.

He would not say where he got the photo but urged anyone living in the area to report to police immediately if they come across any of the clothing or the iPhone.

Locklear also said investigators want to speak to anyone who was in the Ramsey Street area before midnight on April 13 – even if they think they don't have any information that could help.

"People have information, sometimes, that they don't even know they have that's valuable," he said. "It could be pretty insignificant to them, but it could mean the world to me."

Police have set up a special hotline, 910-433-1114, for tips in the case.

"The motto we're going by is 'Everybody deserves to come home.' We want to bring Kelli home, and anybody that has information that they think is pertinent should give us a call," Locklear said. "It's all about the information at this point."

Investigators aren't speculating about what might have happened to Bordeaux, but since her disappearance, they have arrested Nicholas Holbert, a registered sex offender who said he gave Bordeaux a ride home from the bar, and Steven Cantrell, the bar's owner, on charges unrelated to her case.

Police, however, haven't said whether either man is a suspect or person of interest in the case.

Searches for Bordeaux around Froggy Bottoms, her home – about a half-mile away – as well as a pond in rural Cumberland County have turned up nothing, investigators have said.

But Locklear said that they continue to concentrate their search efforts around the bar, because that's where the information they have so far is telling them to be.

Nearly 600 volunteers of all ages and from as far away as Georgia on Thursday scoured the area around the bar and the apartment where Bordeaux lives with her husband. They used all-terrain vehicles, horses and boats in the search.

Among those searching were Ruthi Behagg and Hilda Ramsey.

"I would want somebody – all these people – I would want to come out and look for my baby if he was gone, and I can only imagine how that momma feels," Behagg said.

"I hope she'll be found, but mostly I pray to the Lord that she'll be found alive," Ramsey said.

Also searching were Bordeaux's family and husband, Michael Bordeaux, who told investigators that he was in Florida when his wife went missing.

"She's very responsible. She would not have missed work. She was a dedicated soldier, a dedicated wife. (We) loved each other very much, and I just appreciate everyone out here helping look for her," he told reporters Thursday morning. "Just please let her come home to her family, me, friends."

Other family members also said they are staying optimistic and believe that Bordeaux will be found.

"With the amount of people and the amount of resources they're using, we have the utmost confidence that we're going to get her back. We have no doubt. Kelli's coming home," her sister, Olivia Cox, said. "I just want my sister back. I just want to talk to her."

"We expect to find her, and God willing, it will be today," Bordeaux's brother, Matt Henson, added.