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Officials to announce 'significant development' in Jared Bridegan's murder

The State Attorney's Office, Jacksonville Beach Police and other agencies to announce 'significant development' in the February 2022 murder of Jared Bridegan.
Credit: Bridegan Family

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE: Man arrested for murdering Jared Bridegan is married to his ex-wife

Credit: SAO
Mario Fernandez Saldana

Officials are expected to announce a 'significant development' in the February 2022 murder of Jared Bridegan. 

State Attorney Melissa Nelson, Jacksonville Beach Police Department Chief Gene Paul Smith and ATF Special Agent Bob Bryson will hold a briefing at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Watch a live stream of the briefing here:

On Feb. 16, 2022 the father of four was murdered in the road just outside the Sanctuary neighborhood in Jacksonville Beach.

In January, an arrest in the case was announced.

"Just under an hour ago this man, Henry Tenon, was arrested," said Chief Gene Paul Smith to a packed room of reporters.

Credit: Taylor Levesque

But authorities say there was more to this crime.

"We know Mr. Tenon did not act alone," said State Attorney Melissa Nelson.

She described Tenon as a piece of a conspiracy to kill Jared Bridegan that chilly February night.

Jared had just dropped off his twins, Abby and Liam, to his ex-wife's home in the Sanctuary neighborhood of Jacksonville Beach. Still in the car with him was his two-year-old daughter, Bexley.  

Police say as he was turning out of the neighborhood onto a narrow, dimly lit section of the road, a tire had been placed in the street. 

"He opened his door to presumably moved the tire out of the road and it was then he was gunned down in cold blood," described Chief Smith.

He was shot multiple times as little Bexley remained strapped into her car seat. From the beginning, Jacksonville Beach Police said the shooting was targeted. It was not by chance, it was an ambush. 

The first clue to be publicly released was pictures and video of a blue truck seen in the area around the time of Jared's murder, but much of the rest of the investigation has been kept under wraps.

As national interest in Jared's murder grew, there was much speculation about his acrimonious divorce from his first wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez.  

One story claimed she asked a Jacksonville tattoo artist about someone who could "shut him up".  

In an interview with the Florida Times-Union, she called the implications that she was involved in Jared's murder "sensationalist" and "inaccurate".

As they waited for answers Jared's family and widow, Kirsten Bridegan, continued to push for tips and to make sure his story wasn't forgotten.  They say the grief and pain of the last year felt like a rollercoaster of emotions.

"Everyday it is up and down and just gut-wrenching, as most victims can attest to," tells Jared's brother, Adam Bridegan, "It feels like a life sentence of a burden, and you don't know what's next."

In January, the first step to getting answers finally came.  

The announcement of the arrest of Henry Tenon for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, accessory after the fact and child abuse.  He has entered a not guilty plea to all four charges.

Digging deeper, First Coast News found a connection in this case.  Tenon had rented a property from Mario Fernandez, the husband of Shanna Garderner-Fernandez.  

Bridegan's ex-wife and the mother of his twins that he had been dropping off that night.

"I was not surprised that there was a connection. It's tragic, my immediate thoughts were for Liam and Abigail and what they are going through right now because of what that could implicate, but I was not surprised with that connection being made," tells Kirsten Bridegan.

The Fernandezes have not been linked to or charged with Jared's murder. 

Kirsten says she will never stop pushing for answers because Jared's children deserve to know the truth about why their loving father was murdered.

"He was a dedicated father. He did everything for his children and he cannot be replaced. They will never have their dad back. I want answers," she says.

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