CA BAYLEE DESPOT: Missing from Bakersfield, CA - 23 April 2018 - Age 20

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Baylee Despot, Micah Holsonbake, and James Kulstad all came from loving families, raised in middle class Bakersfield neighborhoods. For most of their lives, the three seemed to flourish, so how did they end up in such grave danger?

“It’s like something you’d see in a movie. You just think it’s never going to happen to you, especially to a girl that’s grown up in a good neighborhood, raised by good parents, had a good childhood, could’ve had everything she ever wanted … but took that wrong turn in life,” said Baylee’s sister, Katelyn Parrent.

Baylee’s loved ones have feared the worst since she went missing last April. But even before this nightmare began, those closest to her say the year before she vanished was extremely rocky.

“She wanted to go back to college, she wanted to join the air force, she wanted to be a flight attendant, she had all these goals, and she was doing good for a while, and then her marriage had ended. Once that marriage ended everything just went south-slowly but surely.”

It was spring 2017 that her brief marriage ended. That’s when family says Baylee began hanging out with a new crowd and doing drugs.


Media - BAYLEE DESPOT: Missing from Bakersfield, CA since 23 April 2018 - Age 20
 
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SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Saturday marks 2 years since the disappearance of Baylee Despot

Saturday marks two years since the disappearance of Baylee Despot. She is part of a local mystery that’s drawn nationwide attention, but remains unsolved.

17 News spoke to Despot’s mother, Jane Parrent, on Saturday.

Parrent said she hasn’t lost hope in finding justice and finds support and comfort in the mothers of Micah Holsonbake and James Kulstad.

“I don’t know where she’s at,” Parrent said. “I don’t know what happened to her. I just hope somebody comes forward so we can get justice and find her.”


Bakersfield police continues investigating Despot’s disappearance and said there is no new information to share.

Secret Witness is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information on Holsonbake’s disappearance, $10,000 for Kulstad’s murder and $16,000 for information in Baylee Despot’s case.

Anyone with information on Despot’s disappearance is urged to contact police at 661-327-7111 or the Secret Witness hotline at 661-322-4040.
 

kdg411

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In the first significant break in the case of the Bakersfield 3, charges were filed Wednesday against one of the three for the murder of another.

Baylee Despot, who was 20 when she went missing more than two years ago, was charged along with her then-boyfriend Matthew Queen, 43, in the kidnapping and murder of Micah Holsonbake, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer announced in an afternoon news conference.

The whereabouts of Despot are unknown. Queen is already in Kern County Jail for other charges. The two are accused of first-degree murder, kidnapping, torture and conspiracy charges in Holsonbake's death.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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In the first significant break in the case of the Bakersfield 3, charges were filed Wednesday against one of the three for the murder of another.

Baylee Despot, who was 20 when she went missing more than two years ago, was charged along with her then-boyfriend Matthew Queen, 43, in the kidnapping and murder of Micah Holsonbake, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer announced in an afternoon news conference.

The whereabouts of Despot are unknown. Queen is already in Kern County Jail for other charges. The two are accused of first-degree murder, kidnapping, torture and conspiracy charges in Holsonbake's death.

I did NOT see that coming... I'm not convinced she's alive, though.



“Although Baylee Despot has been reported missing since 2018, there is no known physical evidence that definitively confirms her possible death,” prosecutors said. “As a result of the filing of charges, an arrest warrant will be issued for Baylee Despot’s arrest.”

 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Mother of missing Baylee Despot offering $1,000 reward to help find her

Jane Parrent, the mother of missing Baylee Despot, is now offering a $1,000 reward for information on her daughter’s location.

Parrent announced the reward in a video posted on social media Monday. The cash reward comes out of Parrent’s own pocket and is separate from the $16,000 reward that Kern County Secret Witness is offering for information leading to the resolution of Despot’s disappearance.

“I really need to find her, need to find (out) what happened to her,” she said in the video. “I’m not going to stop until I find Baylee and I bring her home.”
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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UPDATE: ‘Bakersfield 3’ moms discuss ‘their own demons’ on Part 2 of Dr. Phil special​

On Wednesday’s episode, Dr. Phil asked Cheryl Holsonbake and her husband to close their eyes and picture Micah: his face, his eyes, the tilt of his head, even to hear his voice in their mind. Then he asked Cheryl Holsonbake to speak to Micah as if he was in the room.

She began crying. “Micah I’m so sorry,” she said. “I miss you so much. I’m just shattered. I want you here with me. It’s very lonely.”



The mothers of the “Bakersfield 3” continued their discussion with Dr. Phil on Wednesday in the second of a two-part special focused on their efforts to deal with their grief following the deaths of two of their children, and allegations that the third was involved in a murder, and may also be dead.

Jane Parrent, Cheryl Holsonbake and Diane Byrne formed a bond over their shared grief following the deaths or disappearances of their children in 2018.

Baylee Despot, Micah Holsonbake, and James Kulstad were each killed or went missing that year. They became collectively known as the Bakersfield 3 due to their connections to each other and their unsolved cases.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Hearing postponed for man accused of killing ‘Bakersfield 3’ member​

A hearing for Matthew Queen — charged with murder and dozens of other crimes in the death of a man who is part of what’s become known as the “Bakersfield 3” — was postponed Thursday to later this month.

On March 22, if the hearing goes forward as planned, a date will be set for Queen’s preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine whether there’s enough evidence to proceed toward trial.

Queen, 44, is held without bail.

Queen and Baylee Despot — who has been missing since 2018 — are charged with torture and murder in the death of Micah Holsonbake.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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3 years after James Kulstad was murdered, ‘Bakersfield 3’ cases remain unsolved​

Thursday marks three since James Kulstad — one of the people known as the Bakersfield 3 — was killed.

Police say Kulstad was gunned down in the driveway of a South Bakersfield home on April 8, 2018. Bakersfield police did not have an update on the case Thursday.

Micah Holsonbake and Baylee Despot — the other two of the so-called Bakersfield 3 — also went missing around the same time.

Holsonbake’s arm was later dicovered in the Kern River. The rest of his body was never found.

Despot and Matthew Queen are accused of killing Holsonbake before Despot disappeared.

Queen faces dozens of charges.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Baylee Despot missing for 3 years, case remains unsolved​

Sunday marks three years since 20-year-old Baylee Despot went missing. She’s part of the Bakersfield 3 — a trio who went missing or were killed within weeks of each other in 2018.

Despot was reported missing and no physical evidence has emerged confirming her possible death.
 

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UPDATE: Matthew Queen ordered to stand trial on 34 counts, including torture and murder​

A Kern judge on Monday ordered Matthew Queen to stand trial on all 34 charges filed against him, including torture and murder.

Judge Brian M. McNamara issued his ruling following a four-day preliminary hearing. The counts involve multiple incidents, including the slaying of Bakersfield 3 member Micah Holsonbake.

Queen faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of all charges.



A police detective on Monday testified he was told “Bakersfield 3” member Baylee Despot had threatened to kill a man, believing he had stolen a gun.

“I’ll kill that (expletive) if I get a chance,” Despot said of Micah Holsonbake, according to a witness who spoke with Detective Chad Garrett.

Prosecutors say she followed through on that threat.

They allege Despot and Matthew Queen, 44, tortured and killed Holsonbake in March 2018. His severed arm turned up in the Kern River months later. The rest of his body has not been found.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Kern County Sheriff's Office confirmed finding the remains of Micah Blaine Holsonbake on August 19th and determined to be Holsonbake on August 23rd. He is considered one of the missing persons in the "Bakersfield 3" investigation which is a movement looking for answers after three local young people either disappeared or were killed.

Holsonbake's mother, Cheryl Holsonbake, confirmed to 23ABC that his skull was found.
 

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Man pleads no contest in ‘Bakersfield 3’ case, agrees to testify against co-defendant Matthew Queen​

A man whose garage is believed to have been the scene of the alleged torture slaying of “Bakersfield 3” member Micah Holsonbake accepted a plea deal Wednesday in which he agreed to testify at the trial of co-defendant Matthew Queen.

Matthew Tyler Vandecasteele, 35, pleaded no contest to charges of being an accessory, false imprisonment and felony possession of a firearm in exchange for a four-year prison term. He also admitted to a prior strike for a robbery he committed in Washington.
 

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Long-awaited ‘Bakersfield 3’ trial starts Monday​


It began as a missing persons case.

Micah Holsonbake was last seen in Bakersfield near the end of March 2018. Then he disappeared.

No phone calls or text messages. No sightings around town, or anywhere. His family said he had never gone missing before.

Months later, their worst fears were realized.

A severed arm found in a bag in the Kern River was identified as belonging to Holsonbake.

One mystery was solved and a new one took its place: Who killed him?

Prosecutors say it was two acquaintances — Matthew Queen and Baylee Despot.

Queen, 45, goes on trial next week on charges including torture and murder. It’s alleged he and Despot questioned Holsonbake about a missing gun then killed him and got rid of the body.

Queen faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of all charges.



Perhaps the most eagerly awaited testimony is that of Matthew Tyler Vandecasteele, who was charged in the case and whose garage was allegedly where Holsonbake was tortured and killed. He agreed to testify in exchange for a four-year prison term.


One ex-girlfriend of Queen who won’t be present — barring a startling revelation — is Despot. She disappeared shortly after Holsonbake and four years have passed with no word from her.

Prosecutors say they decided to charge her because there is no evidence confirming she is dead.

Holsonbake, Despot and a third person, James Kulstad, became known as the “Bakersfield 3” because they were acquaintances who either went missing or were killed within two months in 2018.

Kulstad was fatally shot April 8, 2018. His killing remains unsolved but is not believed to be connected to Holsonbake’s death.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Bakersfield 3 Trial: Defendant testifies missing woman killed Holsonbake with 40-pound dumbbell​

As the defense called its first witness Monday in the Bakersfield 3 murder trial to begin making its case, defendant Matthew Queen took the stand and pinned the murder of Micah Holsonbake on Baylee Despot, his ex-girlfriend and member of the Bakersfield 3 who’s been missing since April 2018.

As day 11 of the trial got underway, defense attorney Timothy Hennessy asked Queen to recount a day when Holsonbake came over to his house on March 22, 2018.

Deputy District Attorney Eric Smith has alleged Queen and Despot tortured and killed Holsonbake in the garage of Matthew Vandecasteele’s, a former friend of Queen’s.

However, on Monday, Queen gave a different version of events from the stand.

Queen said he made a joke about Holsonbake’s sex life when Holsonbake pointed a gun at Queen at Queen's house. When Despot came into the room and Holsonbake pointed the gun at her, Queen tackled him to the ground.

A struggle ensued and the gun was knocked out of Holsonbake’s hands, Queen said. Queen said he told Despot to find the gun and asked her to hand him a zip tie. Queen tied one of Holsonbake’s hands with it while they struggled, and “that’s when it happened,” he said.

Despot dropped a 40-pound dumbbell on Holsonbake’s head, Queen said, though she said she didn’t mean to.

Utter panic took over him, Queen testified.

“My biggest fear is that my 4-year-old is going to walk through the door and see a dead man in my garage,” Queen said, adding it looked like a gallon of red paint spilled everywhere. “All I wanted to do was just fix it, make it go away. I want this over.”
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Bakersfield 3 moms speak out following guilty verdict in Matthew Queen trial​

Matthew Queen, the man found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Micah Holsonbake is set for sentencing in less than a month. Holsonbake, Baylee Despot, and James Kulstad, collectively known as the Bakersfield 3, were all either killed or went missing within months of each other.

Now, their mothers are speaking out in the wake of that guilty verdict.

These women's resilience and support for each other have kept them strong and in the midst of the heartbreak, they’ve been through they’ve been there for other families with missing or murdered children.
 

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