DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. – The search for answers in a local father’s murder gets more resources.
A private donor is helping raise the Crime Stoppers reward to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of whoever killed 33-year-old Jared Bridegan in Jacksonville Beach. That’s in addition to another $5,000 from the ATF making tipsters eligible for $30,000 in reward money.
Jared Bridegan was gunned down in front of his 2-year-old daughter and investigators have been combing the Jacksonville Beach neighborhood where he was killed. Police said it was a targeted attack.
His widow is begging for someone to do the right thing and come forward.
Jared Bridegan’s children now have to grow up without a father. Videos showing the good times are now motivation for his wife to find out who did this.
“I still have hope that we’re gonna catch the people who did this but it’s frustrating that it’s been two months and whoever did this is still out there doing whatever they want and we’re still here searching for answers,” Kirsten Bridegan said.
Kirsten Bridegan is now using social media to share her husband’s unsolved case with the world and it’s getting more and more attention.
“After our first interview we got so much feedback. So many people saying you are so strong. How are you were able to do that right now,” she said. “I think a lot of it is Jared. I have felt him here with me. I have had experiences that make me feel like he’s here he’s helping. My daughters are a huge strength to me. As a mother I cannot sit still and fight for my kids, for all of the kids, to have answers as to why he was taken.”
Kirsten Bridegan said the children are still hurting.
“Bexley is the strongest girl I know,” she added. “She has some hard days. She still asks about that. Last night when I was talking her in, she asked me if God had blankets. And I was kind of like ‘You know maybe, I don’t know, why?’ And she said because I want my daddy to have a blanket. So she’s strong. She’s hurting but she’s strong. She knows that her dad is OK and that helps me get through the day, too.”
Bridegan, of St. Johns County, was shot on Sanctuary Boulevard near J. Turner Butler Boulevard at the front of a quiet family neighborhood called Lake Sanctuary. A memorial cross with the words “Justice 4 Jared” has been placed at the scene of the shooting.
Detectives aren’t letting up. They said they need to find whoever was driving an older model blue Ford F-150, which they believe was likely involved in the murder. A tire that was left in the middle of the road that prompted Jared to stop is a key piece of the puzzle.
“As you can imagine, everything that we do we have to do it the right way in an investigation,” Jacksonville Beach Police Department Sgt. Tonya Tator. “So sometimes we have to get subpoenas to look at people’s private information in reference to cell phones, computers, you name it.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department at 904-270-1661. They can also send anonymous information to First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
“I would hope that money would not be the driving factor for someone to speak up. But if it is, I hope that this helps. I hope that this leads to more tips. More eyes out there looking for the truck. Or if you hear any whisper of anything from anybody that this will motivate you to call crime stoppers or to call the police,” Kirsten Bridegan said.
Kirsten Bridegan wants to continue to keep her husband’s case out there so she is drumming up community support. Next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., she is hosting a candlelight vigil. It starts at South Beach Park and she said everyone is welcome.