More than two weeks ago, Fort Bragg Soldier Pfc. Kelli Marie Bordeaux left a Fayetteville pub and disappeared. Efforts to find her have been futile as numerous units and Soldiers have combined efforts to search for the missing 23-year-old Soldier, who is assigned to the 44th Medical Brigade.
Bordeaux has been missing since April 14, when she allegedly left the Froggy Bottoms bar with an acquaintance who gave her a ride home.
Despite all efforts, Fort Bragg officials and members of the Fayetteville Police Department have been unable to locate Bordeaux.
According to Gavin McRoberts, spokesman for the Fayetteville police, other assets, including more than 100 FPD officers and detectives, numerous private citizens, a police dive team and a helicopter from the N.C. Highway Patrol are participating in the search.
Bordeaux has been described by Capt. John Neighbors, her company commander, as a great Soldier and a motivator, who does everything to the best of her ability.
“She’s an absolute wonderful Soldier to have in the unit,” he said.
Neighbors said the efforts to find Bordeaux began when she failed to report to work on the morning of April 16. It was at that time that 44th Medical Bde. officials contacted the local authorities.
“When we found out that she was first missing, we were out at her apartment complex right after (9 a.m.) that morning,” Neighbors said.
“We then worked with the apartment complex and her husband, just to see whether or not we thought that she was in her apartment sleeping, or whether she should be listed as absent without leave, or whether something else was wrong.”
Neighbors said at that point, the determination was made that something was not right with the situation and the unit filed a police report with the Fayetteville Police Department.
Neighbors said the Fayetteville Police Department followed its normal protocol and coordinated with the Army’s Criminal Investigations Detachment, which had been also contacted by Neighbors and the 44th Medical Bde.
“Later that afternoon, both (agencies) responded and had assigned detectives to begin their investigations,” he said.
In recent days, the search was concentrated on a body of water, which was close to the bar where she was last seen and the apartment complex where she lived.
The Fayetteville Police Department dispatched dive teams and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command contributed its helicopters to search the nearby wooded area.
As for the Soldiers with whom Bordeaux served, Neighbors said they are holding up well, despite the tragedy and suspense.
“The unit still has hurts and they’re doing fairly well. They’re just hoping for her return, or at least to find her,” he said.
Neighbors said it’s a hard situation for any commander and unit members to deal with, but he said it’s important to be vigilant and to know your Soldiers.
“It’s certainly not something that you expect to happen, but could happen. Leaders should understand the normal actions of their Soldiers and recognize when something is out of place.
“Everyone is doing everything that we can as a community. The brigade and battalion ... we still have all of the Soldiers out and assisting in two different searches in conjunction with the Fayetteville Police Department,” Neighbors explained.
In the early stages of the investigation, Fayetteville police orchestrated two searches that received participation by a large number of local citizens.
“I think there were somewhere in between 50 and 60 Soldiers on each of those days.
“Then there were a number of Soldiers who went out and were included in the 500 to 600 people who are involved in the search.”
Neighbors said the feels confident that the community, the military and local agencies are doing all they can to find Bordeaux.