FIRST ON FOX: JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FL – Kirsten, the widow of Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan, spoke to Fox News Digital on Wednesday hours after a Florida man was arrested for his murder – and weighed in on the link of the suspect with her husband’s ex-wife.
Fox News Digital informed Kirsten that the accused killer was renting his Jacksonville home from Shana Gardner-Fernandez’s second husband, Mario Fernandez, at the time of the murder.
“I’m not surprised to be honest,” Kirsten said after a long pause. She and Jared share daughters Bexley, 3, and London, 1.
Jared, 33, was shot dead Feb. 16 outside Bexley after dropping off the twins he shares with Gardner-Fernandez at her Jacksonville Beach home. He was lured out of the car by a tire placed in the middle of the one-way road.
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The Jacksonville Beach Police Department and State’s Attorney’s Office, led by Melissa Nelson, announced the arrest Wednesday of Henry Tenon, 61, on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, second degree murder, after-the-fact complicity in a capital crime and child abuse. .
Kirsten and one of Jared’s brothers, Adam Bridegan, attended the press conference and later gave their first interview to Fox News Digital.
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“They charged him with conspiracy. That means there’s more people,” Kirsten said. “It was orchestrated, it was planned and it was specific to Jared.”
Gardner-Fernandez and Fernandez remain suspects in the murder, a law enforcement source told Fox News Digital.
While both Kirsten and Adam expressed their gratitude for the arrest and the hard work of investigators, they called it step one.
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“We will continue to fight until everyone involved in this case, including those who tried to cover it up, is brought to justice,” Adam said. “We are not going to give up.”
Adam added that “as victims, we have a life sentence” without Jared.
The slain software developer had an acrimonious split from his ex-wife in 2016, and they were locked in near-constant disputes over finances and custody of their now 10-year-old twins until his death.
Shortly before their divorce, she asked a staff member at a tattoo parlor if he knew anyone who could “shut him up.”
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Jared’s four children who have been separated, traumatized and fatherless will suffer the most, Kristen said.
Bexley struggles to witness her father’s murder. “She heard the sounds of the gunshots that killed her father, and she was alone wondering what had happened to him, and he didn’t answer her for minutes – and minutes are an eternity for a child” , said Kirsten. “She’s been through a lot.”
Beyond the loss of their father, the four children are lost. Jared had custody of the twins, a boy and a girl, every two weeks. Jared’s daughter with Gardner-Fernandez and Bexley was particularly close.
“(She) would drop her backpack and run to her little sister,” Kirsten recalled, as tears streamed down her cheeks. “Every time she came home from school she wanted to hug her. She loved being a big sister.”
However, Gardner-Fernandez won’t allow the twins to see their siblings or even talk to them on the phone – despite repeated requests, according to Kirsten.
“Bexley asks about her big brother and big sister, and I just say, ‘Mom tried,'” she said. Kirsten, who was also close to the twins, misses them deeply and wishes they could have had the support of their siblings in their grief. “I know they are hurting,” she said.
The chance of a reunion has become even more remote since Gardner-Fernandez traveled 2,800 miles in the Pacific Northwest late last year, Fox News Digital exclusively reported Tuesday. Fernandez did not join her.
His wealthy parents, Sterling and Shelli Gardner, used an LLC to secretly buy him a $1 million home in West Richland, Washington, property records show.
Criminal defense attorney Henry Coxe III, who represents Gardner-Fernandez and her husband, declined to comment.
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“I’m angry. I think it would be weird if we weren’t angry,” Kirsten said. “A grave injustice has been done to our family and that includes (the twins) and it continues to be done.”