3 min read

The Bakersfield Three: Micah Holsonbake, James Kulstad & Baylee Despot

The Bakersfield Three: Micah Holsonbake, James Kulstad & Baylee Despot






Who Are the Bakersfield Three?

The "Bakersfield 3" refers to a series of unsolved cases involving three individuals from Bakersfield, California: James Kulstad, Micah Holsonbake, and Baylee Despot. All the three individuals went missing under suspicious circumstances within a short time frame leading to speculation about a possible connection. All of the involved persons in this story were involved (nope, not in a lovers quarrel like the killer yoga teacher) but in a circle of criminally clean activity, manufacturing and selling illegal guns. The slow progress in the investigations as unsolved cases came to be known as the Bakersfield 3.

Micah Holsonbake

Micah Holsonbake was reported missing on March 23, 2018.

James Kulstad

A week later, James Kulstad was found killed in his vehicle in Southwest Bakersfield with a gunshot wound.

Baylee Despot

Only a short few weeks later on April 25, 2018, Baylee Despot was reported missing.

James Kulstad-1
Baylee Despot

Pictured left to right: Michah Holsonbake, James Kulstad, Baylee Despot

Unsolved Micha Holsonbake Case Ruled as a Homicide

The unsolved mystery of Micah's case (similar to Amanda Greenwell) started to unravel in August 2018. A severed arm was discovered in the Kern River near Hart Park. In December, the Bakersfield Police could now rule Micha Holsbake's disappearance as a homicide. 3 years later, August 2021, his skull would be located in the east river of Pyles Boys Camp.

Former Boyfriend of Missing Baylee Despot Charged

Matthew Queen is the alleged former boyfriend (another narcissist like Ian Baunach) of the third missing persons from Bakersfield - Baylee Despot. In July 2019, Matthew Queen was arrested after a 2 hour standoff for the suspicion of kidnapping an weapon charges. In May 2020, Queen was charged with the torture and death of Holsonbake. But as the two year long investigation went on, although Despot was missing, she was also charged in Holsonbake's death (a killer queen). Police believe that the two, along with Matthew Vandecasteele, kidnapped, restrained and tortured Holsonbake before killing him.

The Bakersfield 3 Trial

Matthew Queen, a smooth criminal like Joran van der Sloot, pleaded not guilty to charges related to Holsonbake’s death, including first-degree murder, torture and kidnapping. He also faces a slew of weapon and assault charges. During the trial, he says that Baylee Despot killed Holsonbake over a missing gun and dropped a 40 lb dumbbell on his head.

Kern County District Attorney Investigators presented text messages to the jury between Queen, Vandecasteele and Despot from around the time they allege Queen and Despot tortured and killed Holsonbake.

Queen said to Despot via text:

“Sorry about last night, the job took longer than expected. You know how I like to do things the right way, never cutting any corners.”

Queen and Vandecasteele were together at the time, according to cellphone records presented in court, when Vandecasteele searched at 1:44 a.m. March 27:

“How long does it take to dissolve a human body?”

Although Matthew Queen denied killing “Bakersfield 3” member Micah Holsonbake, the jury decided there was enough evidence to support a conviction for second-degree murder, as well as kidnapping and assault charges filed in connection with separate incidents in which people testified he threatened them. In June 2022, Matthew Queen, 45, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison, plus 56 years.

Mother of Holsonbake says he was more than what was made of him at trial.


Baylee Despot and Matthew Queen aren't the only "killer couple". For similar stories, check out the Orange County Killer Couple or Till Murder Do Us Part.


🎧 listen on



Amazon Podcasts




About Housewives of True Crime

Weekly episodes of Housewives of True Crime is the equivalent of getting together with your girlfriends and gabbing about the latest news - except it's real-life crime. Along the way, Gretch and Tab fill us in on their every day real-life mysteries (being a mom, a wife and a boss). With a unique blend of wit, insight and a bit of wine, this dynamic duo bring a fresh perspective to the true crime genre.

Join Gretch & Tab every Monday and Thursday for wine, true crime and in bed by nine (cause we have a lot of stuff to do in the morning).

Stay in Touch with Gretch & Tab

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or TikTok @HousewivesOfTrueCrime or sign up for monthly updates!