BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The preliminary hearing for Matthew Queen began Wednesday morning with testimony and evidence presented to the courtroom, including photos of an arm that was discovered in Hart Park in August 2018.
Queen is charged with the death of Micah Holsenbake, one of the 'Bakersfield 3', a group of three missing individuals who ran in the same circle of friends and went missing around the same time. Baylee Despot, another member of the 'Bakersfield 3' and alleged to be a Queen's former girlfriend, has also been charged in this case.
On March 23, 2018, Holsonbake was reported missing, and authorities began looking into what happened to the 34-year-old. A couple of weeks later, 20-year-old Baylee Despot was reported missing by family.
Later that same year, on August 19, 2018, an arm was discovered in a black bag in the water at Hart Park. In December 2018, Bakersfield police confirmed it belonged to Micah Holsonbake, and that missing person’s case turned into a homicide investigation.
Kern County Unsolved: The Bakersfield 3
In May 2020, the Kern County District Attorney's Office announced Queen was accused of killing Holsonbake. Since there is no evidence to indicate Despot is dead, the DA's Office decided to bring charges against her as well. A third defendant, Matthew Tyler Vandecasteele, is charged with kidnapping and conspiracy.
According to court documents, Queen believed Holsonbake stole a gun from him. Queen and Despot allegedly kidnapped Holsonbake in an attempt to extract information and zip-tied him to a chair in Vandecasteele's garage.
During the preliminary hearing Wednesday, photos of the arm that was discovered in Hart Park 2018 were shown. One of the officers who originally responded to the scene then testified to the condition of the arm, including what he believed was a black zip-tie on the wrist.
Queen and Despot were both charged with were charged with murder, kidnapping and torture.
The third individual in the 'Bakersfield 3', James Kulstad, was found shot in his mother’s car in Southwest Bakersfield in April 2018. There were no leads into who killed him.