FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The remains of a Fort Bragg soldier who disappeared more than two years ago may have been found and a suspect has been arrested in her death, police in North Carolina said Wednesday.
Detectives went Wednesday to an area near the Interstate 295 corridor on the northern side of Fayetteville after receiving information, city police spokesman Lt. Todd Joyce said. The search turned up remains believed to be those of Pfc. Kelli Bordeaux.
Authorities said Bordeaux left her apartment on April 13, 2012, and headed to a nearby bar.
The remains will be sent to the chief medical examiner’s office to confirm the identity.
Joyce said 27-year-old Nicholas Michael Holbert has been arrested and will be charged with first-degree murder and may face additional charges.
Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock said at a news conference that Holbert had been a person of interest in the case since Bordeaux disappeared.
Bordeaux was 23 when she was last seen on the early morning of April 14, 2012, at Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville, 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, who Joyce 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.
Holbert was jailed because he did not live at the address he gave authorities, as a registered sex offender is required to do, but he said at the time he had nothing to do with her disappearance.
According to The Fayetteville Observer, police learned two text messages were sent from Bordeaux’s phone after she left the bar, including one that said she had arrived home. Police said early in the investigation that they didn’t believe Bordeaux sent that one.
Volunteers gathered repeatedly in the weeks and months following Bordeaux’s disappearance to conduct searches. Fort Bragg and Fayetteville officials had offered a $25,000 reward for information regarding her whereabouts.
It was nearly a year ago this month that the U.S. Army declared Bordeaux dead. That move allowed her family to receive military death benefits.
Bordeaux, a Florida native, was assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 44th Medical Brigade and served as a combat medic.
“She and her family have remained close in our hearts since Kelli last stood in our formation in April 2012,” said Lt. Col. Heather A. Kness, commander of the 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion in which Bordeaux’s served. “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.”