Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The real-life 'Hostel' murders

A brush with notoriety

In 2005, a couple who'd dropped in on their Oak Island beach house for the weekend found a stranger there. The man was in the middle of making extensive renovations to the place, and he insisted that it was his own. He even showed them a deed he'd received from the man who sold him the house.

Holbert and Reese, 2005
Holbert and Reese, 2005

The recent buyer told the couple and investigators that a doctor named Holbert had sold him the house for a mere $200,000, half of its market price, claiming that it was his sick grandmother's and that she needed the money quickly. William Holbert seems to have used the cash to buy another house in Louisa, Ky., but he and Laura Reese were gone before cops could catch up with him.

In early 2006, the Wyoming Highway Patrol pulled over a couple during a snow storm near Sheridan. The officer discovered that the Jeep they were driving had been reported stolen in West Virginia—and that the "Luke Kuhn" who was driving was in fact North Carolina fugitive William Holbert. The wanted man managed to drive off, fleeing into the blizzard in excess of 100 m.p.h. When the highway patrol once again found the Jeep, it had been crashed. A handgun was still on the front seat, but the couple had escaped once again.

Authorities say that Holbert and Reese traveled as far as Ireland, using aliases such as Donald Lee Brukart and Michelle Brukart. Records show they'd rented a U-Haul truck under those names in Bismarck, N.D. The truck later turned up in West Palm Beach, Fla., but the law would only catch up with the couple south of the border.

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