|Published:||May 28, 2013 10:52 AM EDT|
|Updated:||May 28, 2013 10:52 AM EDT|
ST. CLOUD, Fla. (AP) - Relatives of a missing soldier the Army has declared dead say they believe she's still alive.
Brig. Gen. David K. MacEwen declared 23-year-old Spc. Kelli Bordeaux deceased as of May 20. That will allow her family to receive military death benefits.
Bordeaux was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. It's been more than a year since the central Florida native left her apartment on April 13, 2012, and headed to Froggy Bottoms, a bar about a half-mile from her home. Early the next morning, witnesses reported seeing her leaving the bar with a homeless sex offender. He has denied any role in her disappearance.
Searches by groups of volunteers looking for Bordeaux's remains in secluded areas near the base have been unsuccessful.
No one has yet been criminally charged in the case.
Bordeaux's brother, Matt Henson, tells WFTV in Orlando (http://bit.ly/12JPexc ) that he's still in touch with North Carolina investigators. A reward has grown from $25,000 to $33,000.
Investigators have said a friend of Bordeaux received a text the night she disappeared saying she got home OK. The family is not convinced Bordeaux actually sent it.
"She's still out there, we're still gonna find her and she's still gonna come home," Henson said.
Henson said that while the Army has declared his sister dead, his family had not given up hope.
"The not knowing is the hardest thing," Henson said.
Bordeaux grew up in St. Cloud and left to join the Army.
"She joined the military to better herself and she had really just gotten going," Henson said.
Information from: WFTV-TV, http://www.wftv.com/index.html
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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