(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) — A 25-year-old bar hand who is a registered sex offender has been questioned twice by police in connection with the disappearance of a missing soldier and has been called a person of interest.
Kelli Bordeaux, 23, was last seen leaving Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville, N.C., around 1:20 a.m Saturday.
Nicholas Holbert, 25, told ABC News 11 exclusively that he gave the soldier a ride home from the bar, where he works, but denied having anything to do with her disappearance and said he dropped her off at the entrance of her neighborhood at her request.
“As soon as you drive into the entrance to Meadowbrook, she said stop right here,” Holbert said. “So I stopped and she said, ‘I’ll walk home.’ I said, ‘Are you sure?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’ I said I figured she didn’t want me to know where she lived, or somebody was there and she didn’t want to be seen together.”
The bar hand, who lives in a lean-to behind Froggy Bottoms, was questioned for a second time Wednesday by Fayetteville Police. He said he believed he was being targeted because he has a criminal record.
Holbert is a registered sex offender and was convicted as a 16-year-old of indecent liberties with a 5-year-old child, ABC 11 reported.
The search for the Fort Bragg soldier, who was reported missing by base officials on Monday, focused Wednesday on an area where her phone was last detected, officials said.
The last ping from Bordeaux’s cellphone came late Friday or early Saturday off a tower off the Ramsey Street corridor, the area police plan to scour for clues, Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine said.
Bordeaux’s family said she took her job seriously and would never miss work.
“Being a soldier, to Kelly, isn’t something she’d jeopardize for anything,” said Bordeaux’s older sister, Olivia Cox. “Missing work isn’t something that’s in character for Kelli. This is an out-of-character thing to happen to my sister.”
Fayetteville Police spokesman Gavin MacRoberts said there is reason to believe the soldier is in danger.
“There is some information we’ve gathered that makes us concerned for her safety,” he said, declining to go into more detail, citing the ongoing investigation.
The missing soldier, who is from St. Cloud, Fla., has been married to her husband, Mike Bordeaux, who is a civilian, for nearly two years. He was in Florida at the time of his wife’s disappearance visiting his father, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Kelli Bordeaux’s mother, Johnna Henson, told ABC News she was having difficulty coping with her daughter’s suspicious disappearance.
“I can’t function not knowing where she is. How can someone hurt her?” Henson asked. “I lost my mother and my husband within a three-months span. I can’t deal with losing my child. I can’t deal with any more loss.”
Henson plans to join her daughter, Cox, at Fort Bragg to assist in the search for Bordeaux.
“She joined the military to make her family proud,” Cox said.
Cox described her sister as an “amazing soldier” and a “self-motivated individual.”
Bordeaux joined the military in April 2011, according to a Fort Bragg spokesperson. She was assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade, as a health service specialist. She joined the unit last November.
Bordeaux is 5-foot-1 and weighs 102 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink tube top with spaghetti straps and black shorts. Anyone with information is asked to contact Fayetteville Police.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire