Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Kevin Bolton, age 39, of Gurdon, Arkansas, pleaded guilty today to one count of Kidnapping Resulting in Death. The Honorable Susan O. Hickey accepted the change of plea in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.
U. S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “This was a horrendous, despicable crime. We will not tolerate acts of violence in our communities, and we will stand up for victims of crime and their families across Arkansas. I appreciate all of the hard work by Clark County Sheriff, Jason Watson and Clark County Prosecuting Attorney, Blake Batson in cooperating to see that justice was done in this case.”
“This was an extraordinary investigation conducted by Sheriff Jason Watson, his deputies, and Special Agent, Scott Clark with the Arkansas State Police,” stated Clark County Prosecuting Attorney, Blake Batson. “Their efforts and the work of U. S. Attorney Conner Eldridge brought justice to this case. We are hopeful that this sentence will bring some closure to this family.”
“I believe justice has been served today for Cassie and her family,” stated Clark County Sheriff, Jason Watson. “I appreciate the work by U.S. attorney Eldridge, Prosecuting Attorney Blake Batson, and everyone involved in this case. There were multiple agencies involved throughout Arkansas and North Carolina. Without their assistance this would not have been possible.”
According to court records, on March 12, 2013, the now deceased victim, visited an apartment in Gurdon, Arkansas, where she encountered the defendant, Kevin Bolton, a Gurdon resident. According to statements made by witnesses, the defendant and the victim left the apartment together around midnight in her vehicle. The victim’s mother, after repeatedly and unsuccessfully trying to contact her daughter the next day, became alarmed and filed a missing person’s report with the Gurdon, Arkansas Police Department. Because Bolton was the last person known to be seen with the victim, a BOLO was issued for Bolton, the victim, and her vehicle. Law enforcement officials learned that Bolton had friends on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina and sent the BOLO to the Cherokee Indian Police Department there. On March 20, 2013, Cherokee Indian Police officers located Bolton driving the victim’s vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. After smelling a strong odor, officer’s opened the trunk of the car where they found the victim’s body. Bolton was arrested and taken into custody; he waived extradition and agreed to return to Arkansas for prosecution. Clark County Sheriff, Jason Watson, traveled to Cherokee, North Carolina, to interview Bolton and transport him back to Arkansas. After being read his Miranda warning, Bolton told Sheriff Watson that he had accompanied the victim around midnight on March 12th. He admitted that he and the victim had argued outside her parked car and that he grabbed her around her neck and choked her until she fell to the ground. He stated that he choked her until he believed she was dead and then put her in the backseat of her car. After he was arrested and returned to Arkansas, Bolton led Sheriff Watson to the place where he had choked her and put her in the backseat of her car. That location is in Clark County, Arkansas, within the Western District of Arkansas, Hot Springs Division. Bolton told Sheriff Watson he drove the victim’s vehicle until he heard gagging and choking, so he stopped the car, choked her again, and put her in the trunk of her vehicle. Bolton stated that he believed she was still alive when he placed her inside the trunk and began driving out of Clark County towards Little Rock, Arkansas, where he claimed he spent time with strangers he met on the street. He stated he next drove with her inside the trunk to Cherokee, North Carolina to visit a friend, where he parked the vehicle to hide the rear license plate, and told people the trunk of the vehicle could not be opened because it was bolted shut. An autopsy conducted in North Carolina identified the victim through dental comparison, and ruled the cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation.
On January 29, 2014, a Federal Grand Jury issued an indictment against Bolton charging him with one count of kidnapping resulting in death. Bolton will be sentenced on a later date. The statutory penalty for the offense is life imprisonment.
This case was investigated by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the FBI and the Sheriff’s Office of Cherokee, North Carolina. United States Attorney Conner Eldridge and Assistant United States Attorney Kyra Jenner are prosecuting the case for the United States.