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Dive team searches pond in missing soldier case

By Ashley Hayes, Joe Sutton and Phil Gast, CNN
updated 10:54 PM EDT, Wed April 18, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Search of pond area will continue Thursday morning
  • Police are searching the area where Army Pfc. Kelli Bordeaux was last seen
  • Bordeaux was last seen at a bar early Saturday
  • Her cell phone used a nearby tower, police say

(CNN) -- Investigators will return to a North Carolina pond on Thursday morning as police continue their search for a missing Fort Bragg soldier, officials said.

A lead in the case of Pfc. Kelli Bordeaux led to the Wednesday deployment of a dive team in nearby Eastover, said spokesman Gavin MacRoberts of the Fayetteville Police Department.

Eastover is northeast of Fayetteville, in Cumberland County.

Police Chief Tom Bergamine said Wednesday night he could not discuss leads in the case.

Detectives have spoken with one of the last people known to have contact with Bordeaux, the chief said. "Anybody that had last seen her on the early morning of Saturday is someone we want to talk to."

Police and the military also searched an area near a Fayetteville bar where Bordeaux was last seen and last used her cell phone, authorities said.

The soldier, 23, left the Froggy Bottoms bar early Saturday, police have said. The GI had been drinking and was given a ride home by a bar employee, according to a U.S. Army official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

At some point, the Army official said, Bordeaux sent two text messages. One said, "got home safely." The official did not know who the text was sent to or the contents of the second text message.

The areas to be searched are near the bar and Interstate 295, Bergamine told reporters earlier Wednesday. Records showed Bordeaux's cell phone "pinging" off a tower nearby early Saturday, he said.

Missing soldier 'may be in danger'
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Authorities have talked with "numerous individuals" as part of the investigation into Bordeaux's disappearance, he said. They include Bordeaux's husband, who did not accompany her to the bar, he said. Officers believe the husband was not in town at the time of his wife's disappearance.

Asked whether police believe Bordeaux is in danger, Bergamine said authorities are suspicious that no one has heard from her, adding she is described as "a very good soldier, not the type of person that would come up AWOL or missing."

Bergamine refused to comment on several questions, including one about the text messages. On whether Bordeaux is believed to be a random victim, Bergamine would say only that the case is classified as a missing-persons case, and "there is a lot that is not known."

The Army official said police searched Bordeaux's apartment and vehicle, but the official did not know where the vehicle was found. Bordeaux was reported missing Monday when she failed to report for duty, the official said.

Bordeaux's older sister, Olivia Cox, told reporters Tuesday it was out of character for Bordeaux to miss work.

Bordeaux's mother, Johnna Henson, said she had been told by police that an individual gave her daughter a ride to the bar, where she took part in karaoke. Henson told HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell on Tuesday that her daughter was "spooked" while someone was driving her home, and that Bordeaux reportedly told the driver to let her out before she reached her apartment. Henson said she does not believe her daughter arrived home.

Bordeaux is described as being 5 feet tall and weighing 99 pounds, with blond hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing black shorts and a pink halter top, police said. Bordeaux is from St. Cloud, Florida, and lives off base, according to Jackie Thomas, Fort Bragg spokeswoman.

A health service specialist, Bordeaux is assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade.

Bordeaux and her civilian husband have been married two years, according to Cox.

The sisters last communicated on Friday.

"I texted her. And we laughed and joked and everything was happy," said Cox.

Police asked anyone with information to contact Fayetteville police.

CNN's Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report.

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