Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan was gunned down in front of his 2-year-old daughter Bexley in north Florida a little over a year ago in a crime so heinous, it captured international headlines.
Two men were recently arrested for the shocking slaying, and a clearer picture has emerged of what police have called a “targeted” and cold-blooded ambush of a father of four Feb. 16, 2022.
The tragic killing has laid bare the long simmering tensions between Bridegan and his ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, with whom he shares 10-year-old twins.
It also left the slain man’s widow, Kirsten Bridegan, the mother of his two youngest children, Bexley and London, 1, desperate to find answers.
JARED BRIDEGAN MURDER: EX-WIFE’S FAMILY SAYS SHE’S SEPARATED FROM HUSBAND
Gardner-Fernandez, 35, remains a suspect, although she has not been charged and has denied any involvement in the killing.
The divorce – Feb. 23, 2015
Gardner-Fernandez filed for divorce from Bridegan Feb. 23, 2015, after five years of marriage, calling the union “irretrievably broken” and telling the court, simply, “We don’t love each other anymore.”
When they met, they were both devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After they married, they soon welcomed twins, a boy and a girl.
However, Gardner-Fernandez began to stray from her faith and allegedly had an affair with a personal trainer, Fox News Digital exclusively reported.
Her parents, Shelli and Sterling Gardner, founded Stampin’ Up!, a papercraft company with an estimated annual revenue of over $100 million a year, according to IncFact.
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They had financially supported the couple during their marriage, and Gardner-Fernandez was allegedly irate when Bridegan ended up with a cash settlement after their split.
A tattoo parlor staffer said that around the time of the divorce, Gardner-Fernandez asked him if he knew anyone who could “shut him [Bridegan] up.”
The pair hammered out a joint custody agreement but continued to spar in family court over every issue that cropped up with their twins, from where they would attend school to modifications of their custody and child support agreements.
As the years passed, Gardner-Fernandez’s filings grew more hostile and her accusations more extreme.
Meanwhile, Bridegan met and married Kirsten in 2017, and they welcomed two children, Bexley, now 3, and 1-year-old London.
Gardner-Fernandez met Mario Fernandez in 2018 at her CrossFit gym in Florida, where he worked in maintenance, and they soon tied the knot.
The murder – Feb. 16, 2022
Bridagen dropped off his twins Wednesday evening at his ex-wife’s house after taking them and Bexley out for dinner for a routine “date night.”
About three miles from Gardner-Fernandez’s home, Bridegan was lured from his Volkswagen Atlas at about 7:30 p.m. by a tire that had been placed in the middle of the secluded roadway minutes earlier.
As he stepped out to move it, he was repeatedly shot, and several bullets lodged in the interior of the vehicle near Bexley, who was strapped in her car seat.
Three full minutes passed before Bexley, crying hysterically near her dying father, was pulled from the car by a passerby who stumbled on the gruesome scene.
MAJOR BREAK IN JARED BRIDEGAN MURDER MYSTERY AFTER EX-WIFE MOVES CROSS-COUNTRY
The Jacksonville Beach Police Department, which remained tight-lipped about the investigation, repeatedly asked for the public’s help identifying a dark blue Ford F-150 spotted near the crime scene.
Amid mounting public scrutiny and after hiring a prominent criminal defense lawyer, Gardner-Fernandez moved 2,800 miles to the Pacific Northwest late last year.
Her parents secretly purchased a $1 million home for her using an LLC in West Richland, Washington, while Fernandez moved to Orlando. She cut off all communication between the twins and their younger half siblings, with whom they had once been close.
Henry Tenon’s arrest – Jan. 25, 2023
In a stunning development, police arrested a man the Bridegans had never heard of, 61-year-old Henry Tenon, on charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, accessory after the fact and child abuse.
“Investigators revealed a single link between Jared Bridegan and Henry Tenon: Mario Fernandez,” Melissa Nelson, the state attorney for Florida’s Fourth Judicial District, said at press conference announcing the first major break in the case.
Fernandez was renting a home he owned in Jacksonville to Tenon at the time of the murder and had also hired him to do odd jobs at his other rental properties.
Mario Fernandez’s arrest – March 16, 2023
Tenon pleaded guilty to shooting Bridegan as part of a cooperation agreement that will send him to jail for 15 years to life. Minutes after Tenon admitted his role in the slaying in the Duval County Courthouse, Jacksonville Beach Police deputies and other agents arrested Fernandez in Orlando.
“Tenon’s cooperation has both corroborated evidence collected during the investigation and provided additional evidence against Mario Fernandez for his role in the planning and execution of Jared’s murder,” Nelson said at the press conference announcing the charges against Fernandez.
Fernandez had written three checks to Tenon – but the arrest affidavit does not indicate when these were issued or for what amount.
Phone records show that Tenon and Fernandez communicated 35 times in February — the month of the slaying – 30 times in March, and at least five times in the months that followed.
LISTEN: THE FOX TRUE CRIME PODCAST WITH EMILY COMPAGNO
Gardner-Fernandez’s family was quick to distance her from her husband, saying in a company email to employees that the two had been separated for an “extended period of time.” The email did not reference Bridegan by name.
Fernandez faces charges of second-degree murder with a weapon, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony and child abuse — and prosecutors could seek the death penalty.
The investigation isn’t over
The police and the state attorney have repeatedly said the probe hasn’t ended with the arrests of Fernandez and Tenon.
“We all remain committed to seeking the truth and that is the entire truth. And holding accountable every single individual involved,” Nelson said.
She was asked if more arrests are coming. “At this time I’m not going to answer that question,” she replied cryptically.
Bridegan’s family has said they will not rest until every person involved in his demise is brought to justice.
“There are more people,” Kirsten previously told Fox News Digital. “This was orchestrated, this was planned and this was specific to Jared.”
Attorneys for Gardner-Fernandez and Fernandez did not immediately return requests for comment.
Source: Fox News