What Investigators Found on Street Next to Gunned-Down Microsoft Executive Changes Everything About the Case

The February murder of Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan, already a horrific tragedy that happened right in front of his 2-year-old little girl, has taken on an even more sinister tone. Developments in the Florida murder case have led police to consider the crime a “targeted attack.” To recap the now five-month-old mystery: Bridegan, a Microsoft software engineer, was returning home with his young daughter in St. Augustine, Florida, after dropping off his twins at the home of his ex-wife, their mother. He was continuing home with his daughter, whom he shares with his second wife, Kirsten Bridegan. Within a matter of minutes after dropping off the twins, though, Jared would be dead from multiple gunshot wounds, with his little girl still strapped into her car seat. Here is where the case gained new dimensions: According to The New York Post, Bridegan’s car “had its emergency lights flashing when officers arrived and there was a spare tire in the middle of the street. Detectives said those circumstances suggested that Bridegan may have been lured to his death.” Fox News reported that the toddler was in the car for an agonizing three minutes before a good Samaritan spotted her father’s lifeless body beside the road and stopped to pull her out of the vehicle. Her mother and seven-month-old sister were awaiting them at home. A spare tire lying in the middle of the road changed everything about this case.

Discovery of a Troubled Family Past

As media outlets have delved into the mysterious killing of the 34-year-old, it has come to light that he and his first wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, had been embroiled in a very ugly divorce with a subsequent six years of savage legal battles. Gardner-Fernandez is the daughter of textile entrepreneurs Sterling and Shelli Gardner, who own a Utah paper-craft company Stampin’ Up!, boasting over $100 million in annual revenue, according to IncFact. Trouble brewed between Jared and Shanna starting with a move from Utah, where they initially set up their home, to Connecticut, after their son developed a medical condition that required him to live at sea level for his heart to function properly. Later, they relocated to Jared’s hometown,  Jacksonville, Florida, so he could work on his Master’s Degree. The reasons for the split vary from report to report. The New York Post reported that Shanna had an affair. Fox News described a difference on religious grounds, with Jared remaining a devout Mormon while Shanna left the faith. The two filed for divorce in February 2015, with Garner-Fernandez calling the marriage “irretrievably broken,” even telling the court point-blank, “We don’t love each other anymore,” according to the Post. “It was difficult to watch Jared go through constant court battles when all he wanted was to focus on being the best husband and father he could be,” Kirsten Bridegan said. As recently as 2019, Gardner-Fernandez made the claim that her ex-husband was “interrogating the minor children and recording their statements” for later use against her, the Post reported. The case seemed to already have all the hallmarks of a tragedy waiting to happen: money, betrayal, anger, scorn and a domestic nightmare spinning out of control leading to a broken family and broken lives. The mystery deepened when The Daily Mail dropped another bombshell in April of this year: Security camera footage at the Bridegan’s home revealed a suspicious person skulking about the garage according to police. “The police were supportive about it and sent patrol cars for a while to check on me,” Kirsten told the outlet. “I was not okay [with it] – the timing, for me, was not okay at all and we still don’t know who it was.” Answers are still elusive and police have not named any suspects in Jared Bridegan’s murder.
A $55,000 reward has been posted for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Jared Bridegan’s murderer. Those seeking to provide information should contact the Jacksonville Beach Police Department at 904-270-1661 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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