May 15, 2014 / 5:35 PM / in 5 years

Suspect in missing Fort Bragg soldier's death held without bail

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (Reuters) - The man charged with killing a U.S. soldier whose remains were found more than two years after she went missing in North Carolina was ordered held without bail on Thursday and could face the death penalty, a judge said.

Nicholas Holbert is pictured in a handout booking photo from the Cumberland County Sheriff's office obtained by Reuters April 21, 2012. REUTERS/Cumberland County Sheriff's Office/Handout

The remains, believed to be those of 23-year-old Army combat medic Kelli Bordeaux, whose disappearance in April 2012 received national attention, were found on Wednesday in a wooded area about four miles from the Fayetteville bar where she was last seen alive.

Police arrested registered sex offender Nicholas Michael Holbert, 27, on murder and kidnapping charges. He will be represented by a court-appointed attorney and has not yet entered a plea.

Holbert, who worked at the bar, had been interviewed a number of times by investigators after Bordeaux disappeared, and he complained that police were unfairly targeting him because of his criminal past.

At age 16, Holbert was convicted of taking indecent liberties with a minor, according to the North Carolina Department of Justice.

Bordeaux was last seen leaving the bar on April 14, 2012. She and Holbert had spent several hours there before getting into a physical fight in the parking lot, where Holbert struck the Fort Bragg soldier and knocked her unconscious, according to arrest warrants obtained by the Fayetteville Observer.

The newspaper said he then drove her to his camp site behind the bar, struck her several more times until she was dead and buried her in a shallow grave in a wooded area he chose at random.

Police officials would not immediately verify those details or provide the arrest report to Reuters.

Fort Bragg officials said they were saddened to learn of the discovery of the remains, presumed to be those of Bordeaux.

“Kelli was and always will be a very special member of our battalion,” her battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Heather Kness, said in a statement.

Reporting by Kelly Twedell; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; editing by Gunna Dickson

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