FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) --Fayetteville police say that after a two-year investigation, the remains of missing soldier Kelli Bordeaux have been found and a person has been charged.
Bordeaux's remains were located one mile north of Interstate 295 on River Road with the assistance of the suspect. Pictures from Chopper 11 HD showed crime scene investigators removing evidence from a wooded area.
"We believe this is a very sad recovery in that we hoped that PFC. Bordeaux was alive and well, but we are also comforted in this community that we have taken an individual off the streets that created this terrible tragedy," said Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock. "A lot of folks across this city and across this county - in fact across the country - have been involved in the search."
Police identified their suspect as 27-year-old Nicholas Holbert - who has long been a person of interest in the case. In an exclusive interview with ABC11 in 2012 - just days after Bordeaux went missing - Holbert said he met Bordeaux at Fayetteville night spot Froggy Bottoms on April 14, 2012 and drove her home that night, he denied having anything to do with her disappearance.
The spot Holbert claimed he dropped off Bordeaux is about a quarter mile from her apartment on Water Trail Drive. He claimed he figured there might be someone at the apartment she didn't want him to see, so he left.
"Around one, one-thirty, she told me 'I'm tired. I want to go home.' I said 'Okay,' so we got in the car and as soon as I pulled into Meadowbrook, she said 'You stop right here and let me out. I'll walk,'" said Holbert.
"Did you kill her?" asked ABC11.
"I did not," said Holbert.
Bordeaux's remains were found less than a 10-minute drive away from the bar where she was last seen alive.
Holbert is now charged with first-degree murder. He's a registered sex offender who was convicted as a 16-year-old of indecent liberties with a 5-year-old child. He's been in and out of jail over the past two years.
Olivia Cox, Bordeaux's sister, spoke to reporters from her Florida home where she called Holbert a monster.
"I don't feel any better about the situation than I did yesterday, said Cox. "I mean the knowledge of knowing exactly where she is - that she's not being tortured - that she's not being held captive. That's where the partial relief comes in."
Cox says this isn't the way she and her family wanted to bring Kelli home.
"I think my initial reaction is I was more mad than anything," said Cox.
Bordeaux was assigned to Fort Bragg's 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade, as a health service specialist. Bordeaux, a native of St. Cloud, Fla., joined the military in April 2011. She arrived at the unit in November 2011.
She was age 23 when she disappeared.
"We are deeply saddened that the discovery of the apparent remains of Army Spc. Kelli Bordeaux now concludes our final hopes of her returning safely," said Col. Christian Karsner, Chief of Staff, Task Force Bragg.
"Our new hope is that her family, members of her unit and her friends will take some comfort from this news and the degree of closure it may bring, as well as the information that this discovery may reveal," Karsner said.
Meanwhile, ABC11 spoke exclusively with the private investigator who says he was there in the woods Wednesday as authorities solved the case.
David Marshburn is a private investigator. At this point, he wouldn't tell us who hired him, or just how big a role he played in the search for Bordeaux.
"It's like when you watch a movie and the end is not what you expect," said Marshburn. "You want more, and it just goes to a point where the end result is heartbreaking."
Marshburn spent hundreds of hours on the case, and says over the past eight months, through the investigation, he got to know Holbert.
"I've talked to Holbert," Marshburn said. "I've talked to Holbert quite a bit. What I've talked about I really can't say."
Marshburn was there with his search dog Kaz when the remains were found.
The first-degree murder charge may not be the end of it for Holbert. Police say more charges could be on the way.
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