The unsolved murder of Jared Bridegan

Jared Bridegan was gunned down and murdered on February 16, 2022 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.  He had just dropped his 10 y/o twins off to his ex wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez and he was driving home.  He had his 2 y/o daughter Bexley in the vehicle with him – Jared had two children with his second wife, Kirsten.  Their other daughter, London, was 7 months old at the time this happened.

Before we get deeper into the events of that night, we will backtrack slightly and delve into the backgrounds of those involved.

I believe that Jared grew up in Florida, from what I have been able to find online.

A woman named Mallary Beaudin met Jared through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Mallary has described Jared as her “first love.” 

“He wasn’t like other guys that I knew in high school. He was very respectful. He was a true gentleman,” she added.

Jared graduated from the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in 2007 and he then went to college in Utah.

I think Jared must have returned to Florida by 2009, because that is apparently when he met his first wife Shanna Gardner.

Media reports say that was visiting a friend in Florida from Utah when they met.  I believe they were both quite young when they met – Jared would have been around 20 and Shanna was 22-ish.

Shanna is the daughter of Sterling and Shelli Gardner, the co-founders of Stampin’ Up! – an arts and crafts company. – stampinup.com

This info is from Fox News:

The family company, headquartered in Salt Lake City, has an estimated annual revenue of over $100 million a year, according to IncFact. 

 At first, Jared wasn’t interested, but Shanna  “wined and dined him,” flaunting her charmed life, a friend said. 

“It was like she was saying, ‘Look what my lifestyle is like, I can fly you all over, my parents pay for everything,” according to the friend.

The couple married in April 2010 at a temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. They first settled in Utah where they purchased an $800k house and both drove Mercedes vehicles.  According to media reports, neither worked at this time.

It has been said that Shanna’s parents gave them an allowance of $8,500 per month to live off, as well as access to credit cards.  They also allegedly gave Jared $100,000 to start a business at the time.

The couple had twins – Abigail and Liam.  After the birth of the babies, they decided to move to Connecticut as a family.  Liam had been diagnosed with a heart condition, pulmonary hypertension, that meant he had to live at sea level.

Jared’s brother lived in Connecticut at the time and they were close to Liam’s doctor in New York.  However, the move highlighted some issues in their marriage.  

“That’s when the cracks really started to show,” said a friend. Shanna stopped going to church and started zealously working out.  It is said that she became frustrated with Jared who had gained weight and was trying to get his businesses off the ground.

Jared persuaded Shanna to move to Florida, for a fresh start. He was studying online for a master’s degree at Savannah College of Art and Design.

They bought another $800,000 house in Ponte Vedra Beach south of Jacksonville.

The fresh start failed and the couple drifted further apart.  Jared remained a devout LDS member, while Shanna moved further away from their religion.

She had joined a CrossFit gym and Jared bought her some PT sessions as a gift.  

She allegedly began an affair with the personal trainer. Jared found some emails between the two. He confronted her, and she told him she didn’t love him anymore.

A source close to Jared said:

“Jared was like, ‘I don’t recognize this person. I married a totally different person.'”

Shanna filed for divorce in February 2015, after six years of marriage.  She has denied ever having an affair and said that the reason for the divorce was that the couple did not love each other anymore.

Jared sent an email to Mallary, who we mentioned earlier.  “In the past 3 months, Shanna has become really distant, and got emotionally attached to her personal trainer at the gym, and is now divorcing me.  But she has her agency so I just need to move on and find someone to be my best friend again ya know.”

The divorce got messy.  The court file has over 300 entries.  In documents, Shanna accused Jared of “disturbing and abusive behavior,” including “regularly interrogating” and recording the children after “actively coaching” them on what to say and threatening to use their recorded statements against her.

At the time, Jared alleged that Shanna locked him out of the master bedroom and treated him “in a disparaging manner in front of the children.’

He also alleged that Shanna installed surveillance devices in the home.   There is a photo available of a hidden baby monitor in a bedroom and he also said she installed a tracking device on his vehicle.

Jared sent this email to his lawyer:

“This is enough!!! I should have every damn right on my own property to not constantly be under recording or monitoring by Shanna,” he wrote in the email May 17, 2015. “I want the flipping gates of Hell released on her for this.”

Shanna has said of their relationship: 

“Our relationship was pretty complicated and remained pretty complicated.’ 

During the divorce, Shanna demanded exclusive occupancy of the home, primary custody, and accused Jared of threatening to withdraw cash from their children’s trust funds for his own use.

Jared accused Shanna of “totally lying on her financials” claiming she had no income when she had allegedly earned thousands of dollars doing work under the table for her mom’s business.

What most upset Jared though was that Shanna apparently cancelled Liam’s 2015 heart surgery, after they had waited months for the appointment.

Another message that Jared sent to Mallary said:

“NEVER get divorced” because “it’s literally the hardest thing I’ll ever do, its emotionally and physically the worst thing in the world to hear your eternal companion just be like, ‘Yeah, I am out… see ya later.’”

A shared parenting agreement was handed down by the court in July 2015, but the couple would be in and out of court for a further six years after that.

One interesting event is that at some point in 2015, Shanna visited a tattoo parlour in Jacksonville, Florida.  She apparently went there a few times and got her clitoris pierced there once.  She made a remark to an employee at one point and asked if he knew anyone who could ‘shut him up’ – in reference to Jared.  

Shanna has since addressed this and said  people say such things during “bitter” divorces— but denied having any intent to harm him.

At the end of 2015, Nate Sanders hired Jared as a user experience designer for the software company Canopy in Lehi, Utah. 

Nate later spoke to the Daily Beast and said that Jared was an “incredibly positive and incredibly kind” co-worker driven by love for his kids.

“His focus was on his children. He was worried about Liam, he was worried about Abby. And everything he ever talked about revolved around those two.”

Jared tried to move on and he started using dating apps.  It was on an app that he met Kirsten. She was living in Charlotte, NC at the time and working for Microsoft.

“He had been doing a lot of dating on Bumble and Tinder and things like that and just felt like he hadn’t found somebody that he could really connect with,” Nate said.

‘He at one point had told me, ‘Yeah, I think she’s really special. I think it could go somewhere.’”

Jared made the six-hour drive to North Carolina for their first date.  A few months later, Kirsten requested that her Microsoft job be fully remote.  She then moved to Florida to be with Jared and the couple married in October 2017.

“We waited just over a year before having kids,” Kirsten explained, noting that during that time, she and her husband had a nice balance of “newlywed time and family time” with Jared’s two kids.

Their daughter Bexley was born in August 2019. Their second child London was born in August 2021.  

Kirsten has described Jared as a “creative dad,” Kirsten said she loved watching “all the random stuff” he would come up with for the twins.

“When it would be raining, we would make little toothpick boats and float them down, you know, the street in the gutter,” she said.

Just to slot in some more divorce drama chronologically, Shanna also remarried to Mario Fernandez.  I believe this happened around 2018.

This info comes from court documents at the time:

‘The Father is currently insisting that the Mother’s new husband may not exercise overnight timesharing with the minor children when the Mother is away. He is additionally creating problems with the Mother’s new husband being involved on a more general basis with the minor children. However, he insists that his own new wife should be fully involved in the children’s lives.’

There is also rumor that Mario was involved in animal cruelty (important to note that he was never charged).

A source who spoke to DailyMail.com on condition of anonymity explained that Mario Fernandez was accused of shooting and killing a local cat with a BB gun.

According to the report the cat’s owners took it to the vet where BB gun pellets were found in its leg and abdomen.

The source said that people in the neighborhood were ‘scared’ of Fernandez. They said, ‘Mario was always having run-ins with people who fed the local strays. He was always threatening to kill them [the cats], and he had a BB gun with a scope that he said he would use on them.’

The Jacksonville Beach Police Department officer who wrote the report spoke with Fernandez at length and noted, ‘He stated that he was upset because there were people feeding stray cats…he said he had cats in his backyard, and it was making his dog bark in the middle of the night. Fernandez also said he tried putting pepper on the fence as well as shooting the cats with a BB gun.’

When the officer told him that would be considered ‘animal cruelty’ Fernandez stated, ‘if it did not get better soon, he would take more ‘extreme actions.’ The police officer noted he seemed ‘very aggravated’ during the conversation.

The last court filing in the messy divorce was made four months before Jared was murdered.

Shanna claimed that Jared had been ‘regularly interrogating the minor children and recording their statements.’ She stated, ‘It also appears that the Father is actively coaching the children what to say… [and is] now threatening to use these coached recorded statements against the mother.’

These actions are, she insisted, ‘clearly abusive both emotionally and mentally and an outrageous violation of shared parental responsibility as well as basic decency.’

Shanna also accused Jared of withholding medical equipment – an oxygen machine needed by her son for travel above a certain altitude – unless she apologized for a host of ‘transgressions.’

The court document states, ‘The Father clearly considers his vindictiveness toward the Mother far more important than protecting his son’s life.’ She claims that he put in writing, ‘that he is more concerned with humiliating the Mother than he is in making sure his own child does not die’ and described this as ‘a shocking turn of events.’

Just as a bit more info about this medical equipment:

Shanna accused Jared of not letting her borrow a small breathing machine for their son, which was used when at high altitudes. She had possession of a larger machine that was less convenient for traveling.  The court ruled that Jared would pay Shanna $571 and retain exclusive use of the smaller machine.

The custody arrangement that Jared and Shanna had meant that Jared and Kirsten would have the twins every second week.  On the off week, they would see the twins on Wednesday for a ‘date night’.  

“It usually consisted of a dinner and a quick activity like dinner or dessert, and then the parent would drop the kids back off at the other parent’s house,” Kirsten explained.

On the night of Jared’s murder, he was returning the twins to Shanna.  

Kirsten had stayed at home with their baby, London on this ‘date night’.  Jared had taken Bexley and the twins out for ice cream.  

We actually got a confirmed timeline of events of the night from Jared’s wife, Kirsten. We have included this timeline and also other information from media articles.  

5:30pm – My parents, the girls, and I go for a walk – Jared is still home working

5:48pm – Jared comes outside to get Bexley for date night (when he goes to see Liam and Abby on the weeks they’re with their mom). Brings her inside and changes her diaper.

5:51pm – The rest of us (my parents, youngest daughter, and I) come inside as well

5:53pm – Jared and Bexley leave the house to go pick up Liam and Abby for date night.

6:47pm – I text Jared asking how date night is going. He said he just got off a work call he had to join for a while during date night and that Abby (my stepdaughter) wanted to text me from his phone. She and I text back and forth for a while and she tells me they are eating dinner at The Bearded Pig

~7:47pm – I briefly speak to Jared on the phone after he dropped Liam and Abby off at their Mom’s house and is heading home. I had been on the phone with my oldest brother Erik when Jared called and I merged the two calls together. We spoke for just a couple of minutes. We hung up likely just a minute or two before he was shot.

8:46pm – I leave the house to drive the usual route to Shanna Gardner’s house because Jared is late returning home and isn’t answering my text or phone calls. During the drive I kept calling his phone and it was eventually answered by a police officer. I drive to the Jacksonville Beach Police Station.

What is alleged to have happened is that as Jared was driving in a residential neighborhood, he came across a tire laying in the middle of the road.

He put the emergency lights on in his VW Atlas and he got out to move the tire.  He was then brutally gunned down and he collapsed and died next to his vehicle.

Thankfully, Bexley was uninjured in the attack.  She was still strapped into her car seat when a passerby noticed the scene around three minutes after Jared was shot.  The passerby called police.

When authorities arrived, the tire was still laying next to the vehicle.

As per her timeline, Kirsten started to worry at about 8.30pm.  She had expected him home by 8.15pm – Shanna’s house was around a 30 minute drive away.  During their last conversation, Jared had told her that he was not far away.

This info about the following moments is from the Daily Beast:

“I gave it a few more minutes and then I started looking down the road… just to see if there were headlights coming down the road,” she said. Worried, she began calling and texting her husband but was met with silence. So she got in her car and began looking for her husband while still dialing his cellphone.

Suddenly, someone picked up. It was not her husband.

“I kept calling and calling and that’s when a police officer answered the phone,” she said. “The only thing they did answer was that Bexley was okay.”

Rushing to the closest police station, Kirsten said, she had to wait a few minutes before she was greeted at the door by a female officer who took her to a break room. Her daughter was “sitting there wrapped in a blanket and had a coloring book on the table.”

“I ran over and I picked her up and the officer just wouldn’t tell me anything for what seems like forever,” Kirsten said.

It would take several more minutes, and multiple failed attempts to get answers about what happened to Jared, before an officer escorted Kirsten to another room in the back. There, she said, she was told that her husband had been killed.

“Honestly, my hearing seemed to go,” Kirsten recalled. “I felt like I was going to throw up, I remember looking around the room for a trash can like I might throw up and I didn’t see one. I think I put my head in my hands like: This can’t be real.”

Kirsten added that even though she had felt something was terribly wrong by that point, hearing the news made her want to say, “It’s not him, it’s somebody else, you made a mistake.”

“And then the rest of the night honestly is kind of a blur,” she added. “I know we talked more. They asked me some more questions, but it just all started to blur together.”

Police have said there is no surveillance footage of the murder.

Detectives have asked for the public’s help in identifying a vehicle of interest — a dark blue Ford F-150 with tan trim. 

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting the local police with resources — including their labs to process forensic evidence.

“Detectives are still actively working this investigation and will continue to do so until we have no further leads,” said Sgt. Tonya Tator, of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.

Shanna has told the media of her experience of finding out tha Jared was dead.

She said that when she told the twins, Abby was shocked and silent and Liam sobbed.  She then told the twins they could have a ‘Yes Day’

This info is from Jacksonvile.com

Her son had long craved a drum set so they went to a music store to get him a starter drum pad. He and his sister explored the store, trying out guitars and other musical instruments, as a staffer told their mother how the drum pad worked.

Shanna has told the media that she collapsed to the floor when she heard the news of Jared’s murder.

“I was shocked. I didn’t believe it,” she said. “It didn’t seem real.”

Interestingly, Kirsten has a slightly different account of what happened.  She asked to be there when the twins were informed on February 17, and Shanna agreed.

Informed the twins that Jared was killed – I asked his ex wife (Shanna) if I could be present and she agreed. My father and I went to her house to be there when the kids were informed.

Kirsten told us this happened on February 18, two days after the murder.  I was told by law enforcement that someone had been talking to the media. I sent texts to both sides of my family as well as Shanna’s family stating I didn’t want it public at this time to which Shanna responded “I agree 100%”

More info from Kirsten’s timeline of communication with Shanna after the murder:

Feb 23rd:

I sent text to Shanna asking if I could pick up the kids for their Dad’s funeral and bring them home after. I didn’t receive a response until the next day.

Feb 24th:

Shanna responded stating she wouldn’t let them attend unless she could attend with them.

Feb 25th:

Shanna said because I won’t allow her to attend, they will hold their own memorial and asked me to return Abby’s library books.

“You can drop them off at any public library and they will return them to Ms. Stacy, or return them to the school directly,” Shanna wrote.

Eight minutes later ( and just 12 days after Jared’s death), she requested a copy of his death certificate.

“My attorney has requested a copy of Jared’s death certificate for the family court. You can send it to me or to him and his paralegal directly, whichever you prefer,” Shanna said in a Feb 28 email to Kirsten. 

Kirsten said: “I was in my car, and my hands were shaking, my heart was beating so fast,” she recalled. “I was like who does this? This is so evil. Here I am planning a funeral, and she’s asking for a death certificate.”

Fox News spoke to New York City-based defense lawyer Todd Spodek, who also specializes in matrimonial law.  He said that Shanna’s request was highly unusual.

“I would never have my clients do anything like this, especially given the acrimonious relationship between the ex-wife and the widow. There was no urgency to the matter and the request could be misconstrued,” Todd said.

“Attorneys have process servers and paralegals who can easily obtain a death certificate. It makes no sense to reach out to the wife,” he added.

You can see the emails here:

After Jared was murdered, Shanna and her husband Mario hired Henry Coxe III, a criminal defense attorney.

Shanna told the media she hired him to help protect her family from publicity and to keep her children out of the media.

Kristen refutes this reasoning:

“The claim that Mr. Coxe was hired to represent Shanna related to keeping images of the kids out of the media is a hard one to believe for many reasons,” Kirsten said.

“To this day I have yet to be personally contacted by Shanna or Mr. Coxe regarding this matter, and Shanna’s own mother has blasted images of the kids on her very public blog, so it’s either a smokescreen or Mr. Coxe is inept at his job, which I doubt is the case.”

Shanna has also told the media that her children are terrified at the media attention that has been focused on them.

“I can’t take it away,” Shanna said. “My kids are 10. They understand everything that is going on. They see this and they are scared, terrified and struggling.”

Jared’s funeral service was held on March 3.  Kirsten told Shanna and her family that they were not invited to the service.  Kirsten did offer to take the twins to the funeral and drop them off afterwards.  Shanna denied this offer as she said the children did not want to attend without her – understandable.

Shanna’s mother, Shelli Gardner has a blog:

http://www.soshelli.com/

On this blog, she posted about Shanna not being invited to the funeral.  This post has since been deleted.  

“After Shanna (along with anyone who knew her) was uninvited from Jared’s funeral services, Shanna and the twins planned their own celebration of life,” wrote Gardner March 21 on her blog “So Shelli” under the heading “Enormous Amounts of Love.” The sentence has since been deleted.

Shelli closed on a $3.5 mil house in Jacksonville Beach three weeks after Jared was murdered and I believe that this is where their own memorial was held.

An online comment on the blog said “I’ve never seen so many smiles at a celebration of life ceremony for someone who was murdered in cold blood. Never mind all the pictures of the food decorations.’ 

There must have been a bunch of critical comments on the blog, and they have all been deleted.

“As everyone knows, there are multiple sides to every story, and I’ve chosen to not share our side, for the sake of everyone involved, especially our grandchildren,” Shelli wrote. 

It’s quite funny, because Shelli is obviously not tech savvy and her previous text still shows up as the preview on her blog:

After Shanna (along with anyone who knew her) was uninvited from Jared’s funeral services, Shanna and the twins planned their own celebration of life. It was so sweet to see Liam and Abby surrounded by family and friends as they recalled happy memories of their dad. Just before sunset, everyone cut flowers from beautiful arrangements, walked over the dune together, and tossed them into the ocean as a farewell. The guests received heart-shaped cookies, made by Liam and Abby (with their mom’s help, of course!), to thank them for joining in the celebration. The event was filled with good food, lots of visiting, and enormous amounts of love!

The new text reads:

It was so sweet to see Liam and Abby surrounded by family and friends as they recalled happy memories of their dad. Just before sunset, everyone cut flowers from beautiful arrangements, walked over the dune together, and tossed them into the ocean as a farewell. The guests received heart-shaped cookies, made by Liam and Abby (with their mom’s help, of course!), to thank them for their support. The event was filled with good food, lots of visiting, and enormous amounts of love!

And lol at this post made three days after the memorial post:

For spring break, we drove with Shanna and her family to Club Med Sandpiper Bay, an all-inclusive resort, in Florida. It reminded us of a cruise…only on land, and we had so much fun! Liam’s favorite activity of the week was jet skiing with his mom. He also spent a lot of time playing on the beach. Abby’s favorite thing was being on the trapeze nearly every day. She did cartwheels all over the property and placed third in the limbo contest. Shanna loved doing all the outdoor activities with the kids. Mario enjoyed being out in the sun. Sterling and I cherished watching the kids play and just be kids.

More info from Kirsten’s timeline – 

March 3rd:

Jared’s memorial was held

Shanna ignored or denied requests to facetime Liam and Abby until March 24th.

March 16th:

First interview was held (I didn’t mention Shanna or point the finger at her at all).

March 24th:

Shanna finally responds to a request to Facetime the kids and says she’d like to have a conversation with me first. Refuses to text or email, wants it to be on the phone.

March 25th:

Phone conversation with Shanna happens. She agrees to allow 1 Facetime call per week between Bexley and the twins.

The kids had their 1 facetime call per week for a ~3 weeks until she cancelled the call scheduled for April 18th and said there will be no more facetime calls moving forward.

I responded and asked if we could at least speak to them on their birthday, April 20th. She agreed.

April 19th:

Candlelight vigil held – Shanna and twins do not attend despite it being an open invitation to any and all.

April 20th:

Last Facetime call with the twins.

I have sent numerous texts asking for contact with the twins since then, I either get no response or an excuse as to why it cannot happen. Other family members have reached out as well – they’ve been ignored. The kids have been completely cut off from their Dad’s family.

As of August 2022, Jared’s murder remains unsolved.

“The fight doesn’t get easier. It gets harder as more time passes without answers. I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to stop fighting for Jared,” Kirsten told Fox News Digital. “He deserves justice, the family deserves justice and the community deserves justice.”

“He was happy. He was thriving at work. He felt like he was being challenged. He loved his team. We had a great circle of friends,” she said. “Whoever decided to kill Jared knew what kind of person he was. They knew he was the kind of person who would stop to move a tire out of the street to ensure someone else wouldn’t get hurt.”

“Someone knows who shot him at close range while our daughter was in the car, and we are just asking for answers to find closure.”

CLIPS USED IN THE PODCAST

https://youtu.be/tbcsb0w4rQc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9IwackQtgw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vm30BUKZcA

SOURCE LIST –

https://www.foxnews.com/us/jared-bridegans-ex-wife-admits-wanting-shut-him

https://www.thedailybeast.com/jared-bridegan-mormon-microsoft-executive-was-murdered-in-mystery-in-florida

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5559455/jared-bridegan-shanna-gardner-fernandez/

https://www.foxnews.com/us/florida-ex-wife-microsoft-executive-hired-lawyer

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/crime/2022/06/30/jared-bridegan-ex-wife-shanna-gardner-fernandez-speaks-out-killing-jacksonville-beach-florida/7750499001/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10743797/Ex-wife-murdered-Microsoft-exec-flashes-Im-fine-fine-shirt.html

https://www.foxnews.com/us/florida-ex-wife-slain-microsoft-executive-asks-widow-death-certificate

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10743797/Ex-wife-murdered-Microsoft-exec-flashes-Im-fine-fine-shirt.html

2 thoughts on “The unsolved murder of Jared Bridegan

  1. Great write-up. Very informative.

    Wanted to let you know that at the first mention of the victim meeting his second wife, you left in an editing note:

    “…Kristen (find maiden name)”.

    Thanks for all this info.
    Kelsie

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