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Strange Twists Develop In Missing Fort Bragg Soldier Kelli Bordeaux Case

Missing solder Kelli Bordeaux and her husband. Photo: Facebook.

By The Raleigh Telegram

FAYETTEVILLE – Two people close to the investigation into the disappearance of Fort Bragg soldier Kelli Marie Bordeaux have been arrested, but on unrelated charges, adding some strange twists to the missing persons case that has already received international attention.

The Fayetteville Police are still looking for Bordeaux, age 23, a private first class with the 44th Medical Brigade’s 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion.  Bordeaux has been missing since April 14th since she left the Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville.

However, the two arrests appear are involving crimes not directly involved to what happened to Bordeaux, although media and police attention on the bar personnel may have helped to bring the charges.

Today it was announced that the bar owner where Bordeaux spent the evening before her disappearance has been charged with failure to appear in court on state charges and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to file charges against him, alleging that he owes more than $400,000 in child support payments to three different women in other another state.

In addition, the man who police say is the last known person to have seen Bordeaux alive has been charged with failing to register his address as a known sex offender.

FROGGY BOTTOMS BAR OWNER ARRESTED

The owner of the Froggy Bottoms bar is now in police custody and faces both state and out of state charges.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said that Steven Cantrell, age 49, of the Lynn Avenue, Fayetteville was arrested today for failing to appear in a Cumberland County courtroom on a driving while impaired charge in 2001.

It’s possible that Cantrell may have to face charges in another state as well.

“FBI agents have warrants for Cantrell’s arrest in Boston, Massachusetts for failing to pay 400 thousand dollars in child support payments to three different women,” said Debbie Tanna of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in a statement to the media today. 

Tanna said that the charges were unrelated to the disappearance of Bordeaux. 

BAR WORKER IN BORDEAUX CASE ARRESTED

In addition, a man who works at the Froggy Bottoms bar has been arrested on state charges.

According to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Nicholas Holbert, age 25, has been arrested and charged with failing to register his address with the local sheriff’s department.  Under state law, known sex offenders are required to notify police of a change in address and have a permanent fixed address where the local law enforcement authorities can reach them.

In an interview with Debbie Tanna of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office today, she said that Holbert had been living in his car in the woods behind the Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville.  The bar is where Bordeaux was last seen before she disappeared.  She said that Holbert’s last registered address was in Spring Lake, North Carolina which is in Harnett County.

According to Tanna, Holbert was convicted of a sex offense involving a five year old child and as such, he is required to notify authorities of any change in address. 

In her interview with the Telegram, Tanna confirmed that a previous sexual assault had occurred in the same woods where Holbert was living, but said that case and the Bordeaux case are “unrelated.”

INTERVIEW WITH HOLBERT

Various media reports say that Holbert was working in the Froggy Bottoms bar as a barback and that he had given Bordeaux a ride home the night she disappeared sometime between 1:00am and 1:30am.

Holbert told WTVD11 news reporter Gilbert Baez in an exclusive interview last Wednesday that he had met Bordeaux in the bar where he worked and became friends with her.

“She had come into Froggy Bottoms a couple of weeks ago with a friend — a male friend — and they were drinking and playing pool,” he said.  “And I asked if I could get into the next pool game and they said yes and that’s how I met them, playing pool at the bar.”

Holbert said that Bordeaux returned to the bar on the night she disappeared and had been there most of the evening.  Holbert told the TV station that he had dropped off Bordeaux in front of her apartment complex after leaving the bar and that was the last he saw of her.

“At about 1:00, 1:30 [in the morning] she said I’m tired and I want to go home,” Holbert told WTVD11 news. “I said okay, so we got in the car. As soon I pulled into Meadowbrook [apartments], she said you can stop right here and let me out, I’ll walk.”

According to WTVD11 news, the front of the apartment complex where Bordeaux was dropped off was about a quarter of a mile to her actual apartment. 

In the news report, Holbert said Bordeaux was texting a lot during the evening at Froggy Bottoms.

“I don’t think she called anybody, but she was on her phone all night texting to somebody,” he said.

According to statements by Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine at a press conference on the case, the department has mobile phone records from that evening.

Chief Bergamine said that phone records show her phone “pinging” to a mobile phone tower on the North Ramsey Street and Interstate 295 corridor, which is why they have been searching in that area behind the bar.  The Froggy Bottom bar is located near that intersection. 

According to a report on CNN, a message sent from her phone later that morning reportedly sent a message saying she had made it home okay, but that has not been confirmed with the police and it is unknown who actually sent the message or who was the intended recipient.

A small pond next to the woods behind the bar has been mentioned in the media as a place of interest after an anonymous tip.  Reports say that volunteer searchers dragged the lake but did not find Bordeaux. 

Scores of volunteers have reportedly been searching with dogs in the woods but also were not successful.  The stretch of woods is bordered by the Interstate 295 terminus,  the bar, and some apartments on the far side.

According to a report on NBC’s Today show this morning, Bordeaux’s husband, Michael Bordeaux, has been putting up fliers in response to her disappearance. 

In the same TV report, her family members from Florida have told the media that she never would have gone AWOL as a soldier, as she was very proud of her job in the Army and loved FortBragg and that she certainly never would have broken off contact with her family.

Police have not arrested anyone in the case, but have interviewed Holbert at least two times.

“She seemed like a really nice and cool person,” Holbert told WTVD11 news last week.  “I hate that she’s missing and I hope that she is found, for their [her family's sake].”

According to the Cumberland County Sheriffs Office, Holbert is making is first appearances in district court on his failure to register charge in Fayetteville, where is bail would be set. ::

Article Posted: Monday, April 23rd, 2012.

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