tv Dateline MSNBC August 14, 2022 12:00am-1:00am PDT
modern. but the combustibles are as timeless as the winter fields here. one woman, two men, and a jealousy that was all consuming. >> that's all for this edition of dateline. i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. >> i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline". we're agonizing for the last two years. initially it was panic and then it turned into torment. >> i was concerned that she was hurt somewhere. i felt so helpless. kelli bordeaux was always there for others. >> she liked to help people that needed help. >> there for her friends, there for her country. >> this was a good fit for her, the army? >> she wanted to be an officer. >> her personal life was a little more complicated. she
was estranged from her husband. >> were they talking divorce? >> kelli was. mike wasn't. >> had a new boyfriend. >> she was pretty fun. she's easy to talk to. >> and lately, she seemed to have an admirer. >> did he ask kelli for her phone number? >> yes. >> when she suddenly vanished, hundreds joined the search, including this perfect stranger. >> i said, i'd like to see if i could solve this. >> he was suspicious about one of the men in kelli's life. >> it is like, dude, i can tell you're lying. >> but getting the truth wouldn't be easy. >> i had to get into his mind, see what he was about. >> what you were involved in was psychological warfare. >> uh-huh. he knows where she's
at. >> after a young soldier's mysterious disappearance, one man's personal battle to find her. >> do you think he's finally going to reveal to you? >> oh, i know he is. >> hello and welcome to "dateline". kelli bordeaux was just starting what she hoped would be a long career in the military, but fate had other plans. one night the young army medic was hanging out at a local bar h when suddenly she vanished. fearing the worst, friends and family launched a frantic search, but it would take a stranger hell bent on justice to track down the ugly truth behind kelli'ds disappearance. here is andrea canning with "deep in the woods. " it is closed now, just a decrepit old shack with only the weeds for company. the good times are long gone, back when it was a watering hole for some of the soldiers based at nearby fort bragg. famous for billiards, beer and karaoke, it was once a popular little public called froggy bottoms and it was where private first
class kelli bordeaux planned to unwind one friday night back in april, 2012, friday the 13th. kelli was just 23, a mere 5'1" and barely 100 pounds, but she could hold her own with anybody. >> girl power indeed. >> to her older siblings, matt and olivia, kelli was always the perfect combination of tough and sweet. >> bouncy, bubbly, happy, and just trying to have a good time. >> i think she was always working to get better. she had a driven personality. >> kelli also had a big heart. she was warm and generous, always putting others first. >> she liked to help people that she saw needed help. she wanted them to be better ne because she could help them to be better. >> kelli grew up in florida and then enlisted in the army when she was 22. >> you just wait until i see
you. i'm not playing with you at all. >> after basic training the army sent her to fayetteville, north carolina. at fort bragg kelli trained as an army medic, one of the most demanding jobs in the military. >> i think it gave her an opportunity to do something better with her life and she wanted to help people. >> and what was it about being an army medic? that's an intense job. >> it was something that would push her to her limits. i want to make a career out of it, i want to do my 20 years. she's like, i really want this to be something. >> so she would have possibly made a life out of the military. >> oh, yeah. de >> yes, that was the plan. >> kelli's professional life was on track but her personal life was complicated. kelli had a husband named mike bordeaux. they got married in 2010 before she joined the service but
later separated. after some time apart, the couple decided to give it another shot. so when the army sent kelli to north carolina, she asked mike to come with her. >> why did kelli want to save the marriage? >> i think she didn't want to see it as a failure. she said, i'm going to give it three months where i devote -- i am going to make this work. >> but kelli couldn't make it work. despite her efforts the marriage was on the rocks. >> she bought him a one-way plane ticket to florida and he left. >> and did she actually use the word divorce? >> i remember in the text messages very clear, like, listen, mike, i have done everything i can for the last three months to make it work, i can't do this anymore, like this is it. >> during her initial separation from mike, kelli started seeing someone else, a
guy from her hometown of st. cloud, florida, named justin thompson. >> she was just fun. she was easy to talk to. she was always laughing, loving, she never meant anything wrong to anybody. >> kelli had a knack of making everyone happy? >> she was inviting to everyone. if you were there you were part of the party. >> when she tried to make her marriage work, justin gave her space. when mike ultimately moved out, kelli asked justin to move in. >> were you in love with kelli? >> yes, we were in love. i don't want to be like we were going to get married and have kids because i don't know what was going to happen, but i know it was our intentions, to further our relationship. >> was home wherever kelli was? >> yes. >> in early april of 2012 justin visited fayetteville to get acquainted with his future home the couple also hit froggy bottoms. then justin returned to florida. he would be back in two weeks, this time for good. meanwhile, that friday the 13th kelli decided to go to the bar alone. she texted her sister olivia before she left that night and sent this selfie. ed >> did she say if she was going
with anybody? >> no, she's like i'm going to go sing karaoke and not think about work, not think about mike, just kind of trying to get away from all of that and relax. >> kelli also texted justin about her plans. justin said he wasn't happy that kelli had gone out alone in a new town she didn't know. >> i didn't feel like her life was in danger, i just didn't feel like that was a good environment. >> what wasn't a good environment? >> the fayetteville area, her by herself. if something was to happen, no one was going to call and say, hey, kelli hasn't come home in a while, nobody knows anything. >> throughout the evening kelli and justin kept in touch, texting frequently. and everything seemed fine. he said. olivia meanwhile went to bed early. >> the next morning did you try to call her or text her? >> probably at some point i texted her and said, hey, how was last night, but it wasn't uncommon for us not to talk for a day or two. i just remember, like, let her chill this
weekend. >> but justin said he did wake up to a text from kelli around 1:30 a. m. he said there something was strange about it. >> the verbiage about it didn't make sense. i made it home, i'm safe, i'll call you tomorrow. why would you text me i made it home, i'm safe, i'll call you tomorrow. yo >> did you try to call her then? >> yes. >> what happened? >> it was dead. >> what were you thinking? >> it was bad, i knew it was bad. >> what happened to kelli bordeaux? her family begins to panic. >> coming up -- what were some of the scenarios running through your mind? >> that somebody was holding her somewhere. >> and then police turn their attention to kelli's estranged husband. >> were they talking divorce? >> kelli was, mike wasn't. >> when "dateline" continues. ic® provides powerful a1c reduction. in studies, the majority of people reached an a1c
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kelli bordeaux had been out of touch for hours. her boyfriend, justin thompson, knew something was wrong. what was supposed to be a day off was now turning into a day of dread. not a call, text or tweet from her, he says. >> i remember talking to my mom. i was like, i don't want to start a storm but i'm really worried about it because i knew something bad happened. >> why did you jump to that conclusion so fast? >> if you talk to somebody every day and they you can't get hold of them it is no good.
>> saturday came and went, still nothing from kelli. so on sunday, justin, now frantic, phoned the fayetteville police department, urging them to start searching. >> nobody would help me. i called them several times. >> police policy required a family member to call in and provide more personal details on kelli before they could start searching. so the next day justin decided to call the army base instead. >> i asked them if she showed up. i said it is important, if she didn't show up you need to go to her house. they got back on the phone and said she didn't show up. >> army investigators and fayetteville police went to kelli's apartment. >> they got inside?
>> uh-huh. >> no kelli? >> no kelli. >> is that when everybody starts taking this really seriously. >> that's when we started to panic, yeah. >> word spread when fort bragg called her estranged husband mike who then phoned her sister olivia. reliable kelli missed roll call and wasn't at home. >> i was like, what the hell. then i started facebooking, started calling her like crazy, trying to find anybody in the army with her, like have you seen her? did you go out on friday? i was just trying everything. >> everything led to nothing, no leads, no clues, no kelli. >> what were some of the scenarios that were running through your mind? >> just that somebody was holding her somewhere. >> a kidnapping kind of thing. >> yeah, i was more concerned she was hurt somewhere and she wasn't able to get to us so we have to get to her. >> olivia, matt and mike immediately made plans to all meet in fayetteville. by now the fayetteville pd was all over the case. one of the investigators assigned was veteran homicide detective mike ballard. >> we knew this could be an
endangered person. >> why the homicide unit when she has barely been missing. >> kelli bordeaux was not a problem soldier, always contacted her family, her friends, and then she just disappears off the face of the earth. >> breaking news in the case of kelli bordeaux, the fort bragg soldier missing since saturday. >> the disappearance of the beautiful young army medic was now big news and covered extensively by local media like nbc station wral tv. >> right now it is still a missing person case. there is a lot that is not known at this time. >> olivia and mike arrived in fayetteville where they took a grim meeting at police headquarters. >> what did you tell them? >> that we were hoping for the best but preparing for the worst and they should do the same thing, too. >> i remember at one point the detectives were trying to take us back to talk to us more and we were walking into a room and it said homicide on the door, and i was like i'm not going in there. they were like, no, no, this is just the best room. i was like, that's not happening, i'm not letting that thought in. i have to stay positive.
>> this is an out-of-character thing to happen to my sister. it is not something that she would do. >> olivia quickly became a mainstay on every media outlet in the area. >> i just want my sister back, you know. i just want to talk to her. >> mike bordeaux also went on camera to plead for his wife's return. >> please let her come home. just let her come home. >> the public, police and military response was intense. it seemed like the whole town turned out to look for kelli. >> most of us are military, prior military or spouses, so we are very driven to find one of our own. >> search teams numbering in the hundreds combed the fields and thick forests surrounding fayetteville. >> i searched basically every day i was there, sun up to sundown for the most part, and then it is just searching, searching, searching. >> this volunteer group started at kelli'ds apartment, but just like police their search turned up nothing. >> detectives were also combing through kelli'ds background, her habits, and, most importantly, her circle of family and friends. >> everybody's a suspect until we eliminate you. >> you started with mike
bordeaux? >> mike bordeaux. >> kelli'ds estranged husband? >> right, and he told me during the interview that they were having some problems and that's what threw me off when he would get on tv, there was no issues. >> me and her loved each other very much. and i just appreciate everyone out here helping looking for her. >> he wasn't being consistent. >> were they talking divorce? >> kelli was, mike wasn't. >> did you see that as a possible motive? >> yeah, we had to eliminate mike bordeaux. >> mike insisted he was in florida when kelli went missing in fayetteville. even so, police still considered him the primary person of interest. >> has her husband been questioned by detectives? >> we've had conversation with mr. bordeaux. >> police also needed to have a conversation with kelli'ds boyfriend, justin thompson. little did they know that justin had a huge new lead waiting for them about the night kelli disappeared. coming up -- a new possible suspect. >> he is the last person that is seen with kelli. that was very concerning to us. >> why something in his past
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have no new leads. >> nothing. >> kelli bordeaux. >> missing soldier kelli bordeaux. >> what happened to kelli bordeaux? >> it was now national news. suddenly quiet little fayetteville was ground zero for a massive search for a missing army medic. >> detectives say information in this case keeps pointing them to look in this area near where she was last seen. >> kelli bordeaux had been missing some 72 hours. the chances of finding her were growing slimmer by the day. >> investigators have combed through just about every area here in fayetteville, as well as in cumberland county. >> 600 miles away in florida, kelli's boyfriend, justin thompson, was talking to detectives, telling them he was home the weekend kelli disappeared. >> he was right where he said. we checked his phone.
everything checked out with us. >> justin told detectives something else, another name to check out. when he and kelli visited froggy bottoms the week before she disappeared, they met a chatty guy who worked there named nick holbert. >> he started talking to us at that point. you get vibes from people sometimes. i could see he was weird. >> but he says kelli being kelli, asked holbert if he wanted to join them for a game of pool. holbert hung out with them until justin and kelli decided to head home for the night. did he ask kelli for her phone number? >> yes. >> and? >> she gave it to him because he worked there. so, it is always good to have somebody that works at the bar as a friend. >> that friday the 13th, when kelli decided to go back to the bar by herself, justin told detectives she wasn't really alone. he said she arranged to get a ride from nick holbert. >> i just said watch out. be careful around him. >> i just said this guy, watch out, be careful around him. >> this guy stuck in your mind? >> yeah, he's weird. i don't know what she was doing.
>> did you say maybe you shouldn't -- >> i said it. >> -- go with him? >> i said it, but i wasn't adamant about it. i'm not going to tell her no a thousand times on text message. >> kelli made it safe to the bar where she texted justin throughout the night, but then there was the last rather odd text he received. justin was sure holbert had something to do with his disappearance and sent the text to cover his tracks. >> she went out with this kid and didn't come home. >> so detectives went to froggy bottoms where they found nick holbert. they discovered he was down on his luck living in the woods behind the bar. they searched his camp site and his car. not one clue. holbert also agreed to an interview at the police station where he told detectives, yes, he picked up kelli on friday, the 13th, and later dropped her off at the entrance to her apartment complex. >> since friday night, no contact with her whatsoever, you don't know where she is at? >> no. >> what do you know about her? >> nothing, really. i've known her for, what? six hours all together. >> holbert was fully cooperative. didn't duck one question.
>> if you knocked her down in the car, i need to know about that. >> no, i did not. >> not even touched her? >> no. >> so they let him go. if nick holbert was a suspect, he certainly wasn't acting like one. he joined search teams looking for kelli and even spoke on local tv expressing his concern. >> she seemed like a really nice and cool person, and i mean i hate that she's missing. >> but fayetteville police weren't buying holbert's story, and now he too was a person of interest along with kelli's husband, mike bordeaux. remember, mike said he was home in florida when she went missing, which detectives needed to confirm. >> family put him there friday night. friends put him there. his alibi checked out. >> so now, detectives and district attorney billy west zeroed in on the last person seen with kelli.
>> everything kept coming back to nicholas holbert as the prime suspect. >> so investigators dug into holbert's background and discovered something rather disturbing. >> he was a registered sex offender and served time in a penitentiary for that. >> it certainly was a red flag, the fact that he had a prior sex offense and he is the last person that's seen with kelli. that was very, very concerning to us. >> the d. a. didn't have any evidence to arrest holbert for kelli'ds disappearance, but he did discover holbert was violating the terms of his parole. >> he was a prior sex offender, and he was not registered properly and he was placed in jail. >> sex offender nicholas holbert -- >> right where detectives wanted him. now they could watch holbert. see if he blabbed to a cell mate about what happened to kelli. they also questioned him, twice. even took him back to froggy bottoms to jog his memory, but holbert stuck to his same, though sometimes inconsistent story. you caught him in lies but you
couldn't crack him? >> exactly. >> by now olivia and matt had left fayetteville and gone home. >> i remember feeling defeated. we came up here thinking that something was going to happen and it didn't. >> i don't know. i felt like i didn't sleep for a couple of weeks. it was 24/7 thinking about what happened, what happened, what happened? >> detectives and the d. a. seemed so close to an answer. they even had their prime suspect in custody, but weeks passed, months. holbert stopped talking. you couldn't arrest him? >> we needed her body. we needed to find kelli bordeaux. >> little did police know it would take some two years to finally unravel the mystery, but they were about to get help. help they never imagined. deep in the forest, a secret investigation was underway, a man on a mission to bring kelli home. >> coming up -- why a perfect stranger cared so much about kelli. >> she needed to be found. >> who he believed had taken her and his risky scheme to get the man to talk.
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i'm natalie morales. where was kelli bordeaux? after the alibis of both of her estranged her and her boyfriend checked out, police suspected a man named nick holbert had the answer. a convicted sex offender, nick told detectives he drove kelli home from the bar that night but never touched her. to police the story just didn't add up, and now a total stranger was ready to prove it. once again here's andrea canning with "deep in the woods. " >> autumn, 2012. kelli bordeaux had been missing for months. the searches continued but were winding down and so was hope. privately, many around town felt kelli would never be found. but in the forest outside fayetteville there was someone still secretly searching for her. no one knew, not police, not even kelli's family. his name was david marshburn. he didn't know kelli, but had an intense interest in her case from the day she disappeared. >> she was in the military. you
just don't up and disappear. she was a young female. that's not right. >> he is both a bounty hunter and private investigator. his specialty, finding people, dead or alive. >> i knew she wasn't alive. i knew she needed to be found. >> she seemed like a really nice -- >> remember that tv interview nick holbert did? marshburn saw it too. >> when i'm watching him it's like, dude, i can tell you're lying, he did it, he knows where she's at, he killed her. >> and marshburn was also convinced he could find kelli bordeaux. operating on his own time and own dime, marshburn started carefully researching the details of kelli's disappearance. >> i don't know what got into me to do it. i mean i just did it. >> to bring some answers to her family.
>> yeah, i love doing it. i love helping a family out. >> marshburn was convinced holbert had buried kelli close to the froggy bottoms bar somewhere in the thick forest surrounding fayetteville. >> how daunting of a task was it? >> it is like -- i don't know, taking a rock no bigger than this and just throwing it out here and saying, "go find it. " and you miss it by an inch, you might as well have missed it by a mile because it is not that easy to find something. >> marshburn needed help, so several months into his very private search he added two new members to his team, an assistant named marcia ward and a specially-trained search dog with a keen sense of smell named cass. >> he's trained on tracking, trailing, whatever you want,
what odor you want. >> including buried bodies. together marshburn, marcia and cass slogged through ponds, fields, forests, thousands of acres and searched for months, but no trace of kelli. >> i got really frustrated and disappointed, and i'm at my wit's end. >> then came an unlikely break. in may 2013, nick holbert was released from jail after being locked up on that parole violation. if holbert was happy, david marshburn was thrilled because now he could deal with him face-to-face. so just a day after his release marshburn pulled up to the house where holbert was staying. >> i'dve never talked to a killer. have you? >> i work for "dateline. " >> oh, yeah. i take that back. >> what were you nervous about, that he would try to hurt you or just that the stakes are high here? >> sort of like a star struck, you know what i mean? you're like, wow, it is happening. >> marshburn took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
>> and he answered the door, and i said, "hey, nick, i'm david marshburn, i'm a private investigator, i'm here to try to find kelli bordeaux and i think you can help me. " >> his strategy was simple, trick holbert into thinking he was an ally. >> it was basically telling him, i'm your angel, i'm your help, let me help you. >> help him how though? >> for people to see the light that he was not guilty. >> and he buys that? >> hook, line and sinker. >> so now the bounty hunter and the prime suspect talked. over the next few months marshburn gradually started to win holbert's confidence, coaxing him to confess about what really happened to kelli bordeaux. >> i had to get into his mind and see what he was about. >> did you think that he was going to just confess to you? >> uh-huh, i knew that. i didn't know how i was going to get it out of him. >> at this point police were
aware of david marshburn and his diy investigation. >> did you take david marshburn seriously? >> absolutely. he came to us and wanted to befriend nick holbert. >> what did you think of that? >> hey, go for it. we can't tell him what to do. >> marshburn, remember, is a private eye, not a police officer. unlike detectives he could try tactics that were, to say the least, unorthodox. a few months after they met marshburn told holbert that the da was ready to cut a deal if he confessed. marshburn even presented holbert with this very attractive plea bargain agreement. >> it would be something like manslaughter and he would do three to four years and he would go to a mental hospital. >> the so-called deal was completely bogus. >> you'll see, i put a fake
judge on there. it was justin f. case, honorable justin f. case. just in case. >> did he believe it? >> yeah. he believed it to a point, but then he threw it back at me after looking at it for about five minutes said, no, they'll just take it back. >> marshburn thought that wasn't exactly the reaction of an innocent man. now he was fully convinced nick holbert had killed kelli, but he needed to get holbert to reveal where he buried her body. >> how can i be his friend? and i had to do some things, say some crap that i just didn't believe, but i had to do it to play the part. >> marshburn bought holbert countless meals, beers, even hired him to do odd jobs, slowly becoming a bff, or maybe a more of a fren-enemy. but marshburn said he paid a high price as he practically abandoned his wife and young son. >> i didn't do any family stuff. if we were eating somewhere, and nick called and said i need cigarettes, i need
some money, i would get up and do what i had to do and come back. >> were you obsessed? >> when i have somebody i'm hunting down i don't stop until i get them. >> isn't that obsessed? >> i don't know. dedicated. >> get the answers you need. >> when i'm hunting someone down, i don't stop until i get the answers i need. >> but holbert still wasn't provided answers about kelli who had now been missing some 18 months. by this point marshburn spent some $40,000 trying to crack holbert. and thousands of hours. he was losing hope and considered quitting or even trying something drastic. >> at times i wanted to just take nick and cut his fingers off and say, you tell me or i'm going to chop another one off. i wanted to torture him because i knew he knew. >> you really would have done that? >> oh, yeah. i hated him that bad, i despised him. >> marshburn didn't resort to
torture but he needed a new tactic, something that would make holbert finally share his deadly secret. >> coming up, marshburn finds a new pressure point. >> that was his achilles heel. >> uh-huh. >> but will it work? when "dateline" continues. or atopic dermatitis under control? hide my skin? not me. because dupixent targets a root cause of eczema, it helps heal your skin from within, keeping you one step ahead of it. hide my skin? not me. and for kids ages 6 months and up that means clearer skin, and noticeably less itch. with dupixent, you can change how their skin looks and feels. and that's the kind of change you notice. hide my skin? not me. serious allergic reactions can occur that can be severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems such as eye pain or vision changes, including blurred vision, joint aches and pain, or a parasitic infection.
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fayetteville, but nearly two years after kelli bordeaux had mysteriously vanished the investigation had cooled. new crimes now took priority. kelli's family still visited fayetteville periodically to keep the case alive, somehow never losing hope. >> people would ask, how do you keep thinking she's alive. i was like, until you can prove otherwise, why should i believe it. i would rather believe the better scenario. >> how did you have that hope it would happen? >> because the other avenue wasn't one i wanted to go down. >> back in florida, kelli's boyfriend, justin thompson, had been living in limbo with a bad case of survivor's guilt. >> i could have done more. somehow i should have done better. i should have told her don't go, argued about it. i don't know. >> what was the waiting like, and the not knowing? >> terrible. just like slams on the brakes. in your life you
can't do anything. i honestly didn't think we would ever find her. >> really? >> what was going to change? >> but little did justin know things were about to change. up in fayetteville, private investigator david marshburn had befriended nick holbert, the prime suspect in kelli's disappearance. marshburn was working practically 24/7 to get a confession. chasing every clue holbert dropped. >> we go talk to him and then we'd go out and try and figure it out. we knew we were going on wild goose chases. we had to do it. i mean what else you got? >> marshburn needed to turn up the heat on holbert and had an idea. >> nick was always worried law enforcement was watching him. >> that was his achilles heel? >> uh-huh. so i knew that was a weakness. >> which marshburn exploited by enlisting a friend who owned a vehicle that looked like an unmarked police car. he had him park near holbert's house and conduct surveillance, fake surveillance.
>> it worked like a charm because he saw him right out the gate when he come outside and got paranoid. >> so paranoid that marshburn tried yet another trick to push holbert to give it up. he had his wife pose as a paralegal and drop phony indictment papers charging holbert with kelli's murder. >> i took one of his old charges, changed who the detective was, changed the charges. he was being indicted and i got ceecee my paralegal person on the phone -- >> who is your wife? >> yeah, who is helping me. the plan was working good and he was worried. >> holbert took one look at the indictment papers and went into a panic. sensing nick was near his breaking point, marshburn reminded him about the sweetheart plea deal if he confessed. so, they took a ride to froggy bottoms, back to where it all began. >> i said, look, nick, you're fixing to be indicted on this. they evidently got evidence.
you need to get me to where kelli's at. he's standing there looking straight down, and it feels like he's imaging all of this stuff going on of what he done. >> do you think he's finally going to reveal to you? >> oh, i know he is. >> this is it? >> oh, yeah, this is it. i had chills. >> marshburn then applied one last bit of pressure. his own ticking clock of sorts to push holbert over the edge. >> i pick up a stick. i figured if i sit there and snap it, it would ring in his mind, hey, i'm on a time limit, the clock is ticking. i started snapping the twigs off of it. finally, i got to the last pieces off of it and he said something like, okay, i'm ready. >> ready to confess. finally, after a year-long cat and mouse game, holbert revealed to marshburn that he killed kelli
bordeaux. they got back in the van and holbert directed marshburn to a remote area where he remembered burying the body. >> and then he said, right here. so we pulled down this path. >> are you getting nervous? >> no. i'm excited i'm going to find her. and i take cass and me and cass try and find her. >> marshburn and cass spent the next several hours combing through the thick woods, trying to get a scent of kelli's grave. >> we searched to almost dark. cass starts laying down and so we start digging. can't find nothing. >> what is that telling you though? >> thinking we're close. >> but not close enough. holbert couldn't remember exactly where he buried kelli's body. it was almost dark. everybody was exhausted. so marshburn reluctantly called it a day, but he didn't take holbert home. >> i give him a hotel room and i tell him i'm going to be back
in the morning. >> did you worry that he might get spooked and take off? >> i was worried he was going to kill himself. >> and take the secrets of kelli's grave to his own. >> coming up -- an excruciating few hours. >> i couldn't sleep that night. marcia couldn't sleep. >> in the morning, one final search and at long last, a sign. >> all of a sudden he starts whimpering and he stops. >> after two long years, are all questions about to be answered? when "dateline" continues. your teeth. pronamel repair is our first line of defense. it goes deep into the surface of the tooth to actively repair it. i personally use pronamel repair every single day, morning and night.
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pressure from private investigator david marshburn, nick holbert had finally confessed to the murder of kelli bordeaux. he even agreed to take david to kelli's body, but after hours of scouring the forest for her body, the search was in vain. now the unlikely pair was about to try again. question was, could the admitted killer make good on his promise and give kelli's family the peace they deserved. here's andrea canning with the conclusion of "deep in the woods. " >> it was a long night in north carolina. nick holbert was holed up in a hotel. while a few miles away, david marshburn was wide awake, wondering, worrying, hoping that tomorrow would be the day that he could finally bring kelli bordeaux home. >> i couldn't sleep that night. marcia couldn't sleep. we were
just all excited for the next day. so the next day comes, we go to pick him up and he's real quiet. >> he, of course, was nick holbert, who was now back in the forest outside fayetteville. it was may 14th, 2014. two years of searching had now come down to this one sweltering spring morning. but holbert still couldn't remember exactly where he had buried kelli's body and went off searching in a different direction. >> we're standing there, i'm like, darn it, i cannot figure this out. and all of a sudden, i looked over to my left and there's some clearing over here and there's the sun coming down. >> then in that very same spot, cass seemed to pick up a scent. >> all of a sudden he starts crawling to it, like, whimpering, crawling. and he stops. that was our spot. >> they carefully pushed a metal rod into the ground. the soil was loose, like a hole had
been dug and filled in. it was at that moment marshburn was overwhelmed with emotion. >> at that time, i said, you're going home, baby girl. you're going home, baby girl. i'm sorry, i get emotional. >> had you even seen her yet? >> hmm-mh. >> you just knew? >> we just knew. >> but they had to be sure. so then the grim task of digging began. >> we find a little piece of a jacket. when we pulled that jacket back, that's when he stopped. we said, this is her. this is it. >> throughout the day, marshburn had been texting fayetteville police about her progress. now, minutes after sending kelli's body, he sent them something definitive and dreadful. >> a photo of what appears to be a human bone. a place he's digging. and at that time, he contacted him and said, hay, cease and desist on digging. don't do nothing else.
>> police rushed to the scene and soon detective josh locklear was interrogating hoblert on camera. >> where do you want me to start from? the very beginning? >> holbert told the whole horrible story. how he took kelli to the bar and they hung out, then later, said holbert, someone there told kelli about his prior sex offense. she got upset and swore at him in the empty parking lot. >> and i just snapped and zone pd o ed out and hit her and knocked her out. >> hoblert said he took kelli to his camp site where she woke up and started screaming. >> and i hit her again and knocked her out again. and she was dead. >> hoblert said he then took kelli'ds body deep into the woods and buried her. >> you okay with going back
there, nick? >> i don't want to. >> hoblert was then taken downtown and arrested. >> this morning, detectives with the fayetteville homicide -- fayetteville police department homicide unit recovered what we believe to be private first class kelli bordeaux. >> by now, kelli'ds family had gotten the news. >> he called me and he was like, hey, you need to come to mom's now, they found kelli and i remember dropping to the floor, like, i'dll be right there. >> then it's a sense of relief instead of just wondering, what if, what if, what if, what if. >> olivia called kelli'ds boyfriend, justin thompson. >> as soon as she called, i knew they found her. i was so grateful. honestly, i was so happy that she was found. i can't say happy.
>> relieved? >> yeah, i was relieved. i was sad again all over again, now we're going to have to do funeral thing. >> two weeks later, they paid their final respects. a funeral in florida was such big news, it was actually televised. >> aim, fire. >>. >> kelli bordeaux was just 23. >> everybody rise, please. >> just over a a measure of justice. >> are you, in fact, guilty of each of these crimes? >> yes, i am. >> facing the possibility of the death penalty, nick hoblert pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing kelli in exchange for a life sentence. >> i wanted my sister. i didn't want her body, i wanted her. so what happens to nicholas hoblert isn't going to change what he's done. whether he says he's sorry, whether -- it doesn't matter. >> for david marshburn, his remarkable work was done. case closed, justice served. kelli bordeaux was finally home. but he says solving her case left him with mixed emotions. >> once we got finished, we were depressed. it was a
depression like you would not believe. because we went from two years, nonstop, kelli, kelli, kelli, kellie. >> do you think this case ever would have been solved without you? >> no. i don't think that nick would have ever told anyone unless they were his friend. but he did tell me. >> for the family of kelli bordeaux, the loss, the pain, the sorrow never goes away. but david marshburn at least gave them a chance to heal. >> he ended a suffering for my family. where we're sitting here, agonizing for these last two years. he was the one who was able to come in and end this for us. and to make it to where you can try to start
rebuilding and doing things that will make kelli proud and to live your life. >> the family also had something for david marshburn. a very special gift from kelli. >> kelli'ds dog tags. which, that's a great honor in itself. >> this is a very important thing. >> yeah. >> for a soldier. >> i always have these. these will stay with me forever. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline. " i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. >> i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline". >> my friend called me and she was hysterical. she said sandra has been killed. i was like, oh, my god. as soon as she was killed, we all knew who did it. as the months went on, we just realized that this guy is going to get off. how is this happening? just keep praying. that's all we can do. >> there aren't a lot of