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Company owned by family of Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife responds to arrest in his murder

The letter acknowledges “troubling comments” about the arrest of Mario Fernandez Saldana, who is married to the owner’s daughter.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A company owned by the former in-laws of a man murdered in Jacksonville Beach is responding to controversy over a recent arrest in the case. Jared Bridegan was killed in front of his 2-year-old daughter in February 2022. The man arrested for his murder last week is married to Bridegan’s ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez.

That arrest put a spotlight on both Gardner-Fernandez and her mom’s company, Stampin’ Up, a multi-level marketing craft company worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Gardner-Fernandez is not charged with any crime, but prosecutors noted publicly and in the arrest warrant for her current husband, that her divorce from Bridegan was protracted and “highly acrimonious.” They have also said they believe others were involved in Bridegan’s murder.

In a recent letter to company vendors, known as “demonstrators,” the Utah based company said it wanted to communicate “regarding a Gardner family matter.”

“Stampin’ Up! is aware that Mario Fernandez, Shanna Gardner’s current husband, has been arrested in conjunction with an ongoing investigation," the letter says. "Shanna (Shelli and Sterling’s daughter) and Mario have been separated for an extended period of time. We have no further details about the situation other than what has been reported by the media.”

Fernandez is charged with solicitation to commit a capitol felony, conspiracy to commit murder, first degree murder and child abuse in connection to the murder of Jared Bridegan last year.

In his first appearance Thursday, Saldana was seen wearing an orange jumpsuit, standing out from others also appearing. Crime and Safety Expert Mark Baughman says the color of the jumpsuit is based on the charge.

"He's being charged with a capital offense and mainly people that are charged with egregious type felonies similar to that sexual battery. Career offenders will normally wear that orange jumpsuit, the green jumpsuits for lesser felony charges, some misdemeanors or maybe nonviolent offenders," Crime and Safety Expert Mark Baughman said.

The letter continues, “some demonstrators have received troubling comments about this matter on their social media platforms,” and says vendors can “feel free to delete comments of an inappropriate nature and block/report those commenters.”

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An attorney for Shanna Gardner-Fernandez has previously refused to comment on the case.

In a statement to First Coast News, Fernandez' attorney says, "We will file a written plea of not guilty on our client's behalf in the upcoming days and announce the plea of not guilty at the arraignment."

 An Instagram page controlled by Bridegan’s current wife, Kirsten Bridegan, did respond, with a “stories” compilation of other social media posts by people skeptical of the letter.

One post noted the letter failed to mention what Mario is accused of. "No mention of Jared’s name, no condolences, distancing Shanna from Mario and a minimization of the charges brought against Mario," it says.

Another urges people to boycott Stampin’ Up. “Look peeps, if you give Stampin’ Up! Your business, think again! Doing so supports liars and people more interested in covering their own a**** and brand than finding justice for those who took Jared, a loving husband/father away from his wife/children!”  

Saldana is currently being held in the Duval County Jail without bond. Baughman says it's now up to Fernandez to cooperate with investigators. 

"The investigation is not over. The redacted that the redacted that documents kind of led you to believe that number one, number two, the fact is that the reward as I know, it is still out there. And, you know, it still appears there's somebody else that could have been involved in the scheme along with Mr. Tenon and with Mario Fernandez Saldana," Baughman added. 

Gardner-Fernandez used to live in Jacksonville Beach, in the neighborhood where the murder took place, but has since moved to Washington state. Efforts to reach her have been unsuccessful. Her husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana, was in first appearance court in Jacksonville on Thursday morning, after being transferred from Orlando, where he was arrested. 

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