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Kern County Search and Rescue to unveil donated sonar equipment

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Posted at 1:07 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 13:30:02-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County Sheriff's Office and The Bakersfield 3 Charity will do an unveiling of donated sonar equipment in front of headquarters, 1350 Norris Road, on May 27 at 9 a.m.

The Bakersfield 3 announced its charity has raised $17,000 to purchase sonar equipment for the Kern County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit, in the hopes of assisting those find loved ones missing.

What started as three mothers looking for answers has now grown into a movement of hope, as the Bakersfield 3 Charity works to raise funds for programs like the Search and Rescue Unit.

Stemming from the missing cases of three local friends, James Kulstad, Micah Holsonbake, Baylee Despot, the mothers hope their donation will bring answers to other cases.

"Our community has been plagued with the dubious distinction of having the most murders, per capita, in the state,” the organization said in a statement. “With a strong working partnership with leaders, our community and law enforcement, it’s our belief that we are making progress together and we can continue to reach new milestones in the fight for a safer community.”

For more than a year, no one knows what happened to Kulstad, Holsonbake and Despot. Kulstad was shot and killed, the body part of his friend, Holsonbake, found in water and Despot hasn’t been seen in more than a year.

Their case is still unsolved. The Bakersfield telling 23ABC last year there haven’t been any new leads or breakthroughs in the three cases, but they still have hope there will be justice.

The donation of the system created by JW Fishers Manufacturing Inc. was approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors during its morning meeting Tuesday. KCSO said the system will be used for scanning the bottom of bodies of water in Kern County.

The funds were raised when BK3 held a golf tournament in 2019. An unveiling ceremony will be held next week.

Anyone with information on the cases is asked to call the Secret Witness line at 322-4040. There are rewards for information on those case. There are $10,000 rewards for both Holsonbake and Kulstad and $16,000 for information on Despot’s whereabouts.