‘Bakersfield 3’ case takes shocking turn with announcement of murder charges

Bakersfield 3

Kern DA announced murder charge against missing Baylee Despot

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The mystery of the so-called Bakersfield 3, that has haunted Kern County for two years now, took a shocking turn Wednesday when the district attorney announced murder charges against Matthew Queen, missing woman Baylee Despot, and kidnapping and conspiracy charges against Matthew Vandecasteele, in the death of Micah Holsonbake.

On March 23, 2018 Micah Holsonbake was last seen in east Bakersfield. April 8, 2018, James Kulstad was shot and killed leaving a house party in southwest Bakersfield. April 25, 2018, Matthew Queen reported last seeing Baylee Despot, in Rosedale.

The mothers of the three victims, who became known as the Bakersfield three, began to put together the pieces. They realized their children all knew each other, and ran in the same circles. Now forever tied together by a devastating 34-day span that would forever change their lives.

Court documents 17 News obtained on Wednesday say that between March 20 and March 27 2018, Queen and Despot, used Vandecasteele’s garage to tie up Holsenbake to get information out of him.

Prosecutors allege that Despot went into Vandecasteele’s apartment to get a knife and then Queen or Despot killed Holsonbake. Holsonbake’s arm was discovered in a bag in the Kern River in August of 2018. The rest of his body has never been found.

Diane Byrne, the mother of James Kulstad, and Jane Parrent, mom of Baylee Despot sat down with 17’s Maddie Janssen Wednesday to talk about the developments. “Early on we moms joined forces because of the connection between all the kids. And Matt Queen posted on one of our posts, what if one of the BK three, killed one of the others? So for about two years now we’ve thought that could be a possibility, what if it was James that killed Micah or if it was Baylee?” said Byrne. “Well we know is if that happened they would have had to have a gun to their head,” said Parrent.

Queen has been in custody since last summer when he was arrested on weapons and kidnapping charges. Vandecasteele is in custody in another jurisdiction. And Despot is still missing.

“The Bakersfield Police Department and this office will never stop looking for Baylee Despot whether she is a killer on the run or someone who was killed herself.”

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