Two years after her disappearance, Fayetteville police recovered the remains of Fort Bragg-based Army medic Kelli Bordeaux Wednesday morning within four miles of the bar where she was last seen.
Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock said her body was found in a deeply wooded area along River Road about three or four miles from Froggy Bottoms bar on Ramsey Street. He said a citizen helped police locate her body.
The body has been sent to the Chief’s Medical Examiner's Office in Raleigh for positive identification.
Medlock said police also arrested a suspect, 27-year-old Nicholas Holbert, in connection with her disappearance. He is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. He is being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center with no bond.
Holbert has his first court appearance scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m.
"Mr. Holbert has been a person of interest in this case almost from the beginning," Medlock said Wednesday. "Holbert was on the scene [where Bordeaux was found] with our detectives earlier today and he shared some vital information."
Holbert had previously been arrested on an unrelated charge shortly after Bordeaux's disappearance. A registered sex offender, he was arrested for violation of his sex offender status, which requires him to provide a new address within 10 days of moving.
Bordeaux was 23 when she was last seen leaving the Froggy Bottoms bar around 1:20 a.m. on April 14, 2012. The bar's owner, Steve Cantrell, said Bordeaux was at the bar with Holbert, who lived in a tent behind the bar.
Holbert later told investigators that he gave Bordeaux a ride home from the bar, but said he dropped her off before they arrived at her house.
"We believe he did offer her a ride and did give her a ride," Medlock said.
The Fayetteville Observer reported that police learned of two text messages sent from Bordeaux's cell phone after leaving the bar. One of them said she had arrived home, but investigators do not believe Bordeaux was the one who actually sent the message.
Medlock said investigators believe Bordeaux was dead when her body was dumped in the wooded area.
Medlock said police received "good assistance" from a citizen in the case but Medlock did not give details.
Over the course of the two years since her disappearance, family and friends held out hope that she would be found. In recent weeks a new billboard about Bordeaux went up on Bragg Boulevard near Skibo Road in Fayetteville.
Bordeaux's sister, Olivia Cox, said their mother remained in contact with the Fayetteville Police Department every week since the disappearance. She said despite now knowing what happened to her sister, she said she doesn't feel any better about the situation and "partial relief comes in but the fact that this is the end result."
"I think my initial reaction was I was more mad than anything. 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?" Cox said. "e literally have been through Hell and back begging and pleading and praying, just trying to bring her home.
"I mean, 2 years and 1 month of begging and this is it?"
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