Jared Bridegan Was Killed in Front of His Young Daughter — There's More to the Story

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Feb. 8 2024, Published 8:47 a.m. ET

According to The Florida Times-Union, a reward for any information regarding the murder of Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan skyrocketed to $55,000. The 33-year-old father of four lived in Jackson Beach, Fla., at the time of his death in February 2022. His personal life was complicated but on the surface, getting sorted out.

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Bridegan had two children with his ex-wife Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, and two with his second wife Kirsten Bridegan. Unfortunately, it would later be revealed that Bridegan's first marriage was messy and his divorce even more so. Is this why he was murdered so callously? The killer didn't seem to care that one of his children was in the car when he died. What happened to Jared Bridegan? Here's what we know.

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What happened to Jared Bridegan? He was allegedly killed in a murder-for-hire plot.

Bridegan shared twins with his ex-wife Gardner and was dropping his son and daughter off at her home in Jacksonville on the evening of Feb. 16, 2022. He was heading back to his house, with his 2-year-old daughter, when he spotted a tire in the road near the exit of his neighborhood. When Bridegan pulled over to move the tire, that's when things took a deadly turn.

While Bridegan was attempting to move the tire from the middle of the road, he was shot multiple times in the back. This occurred while his daughter was still sitting in the car. News 4 Jax reported that Bridegan's daughter later told police that, "Daddy opened my car door and I heard a boom." When Bridegan didn't get up, his daughter thought he was sick. His hazards were still on when police arrived at the scene. They came to believe this was planned.

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It didn't take long for police to narrow their suspect list down to Shanna Gardner and her second husband.

Kirsten told authorities, "The only person who had ill will towards him is Shanna," and her second husband Mario Fernandez Saldana, per Court TV. The anger Gardner felt was due largely to the fact that her marriage to Bridegan ended when he had an affair with a personal trainer. However, Gardner told police she suspected her ex-husband was more interested in her money than her.

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Gardner brought family money into her marriage to Bridegan but that dissipated quickly after the birth of their twins, per News 4 Jackson. Their son's medical issues were costly and "put a strain on the marriage." Evidently Bridegan wasn't very present, said Gardner, and ended up draining their bank accounts. This is why a chance meeting with Fernandez at her gym turned into an emotional affair which added another crack to the facade of Gardner's marriage to Bridegan.

After traumatic divorce proceedings, Gardner claimed that Bridegan wouldn't allow Fernandez near his twins unless he was married to Gardner. They married quickly, more out of convenience than anything else. Within the 300 entries in the divorce documents for Bridegan and Gardner, there were accusations of his "disturbing and abusive behavior" towards their children and her treating him in a "disparaging manner" in front of their kids.

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What finally led police to Gardner and Fernandez was a pickup truck spotted on a security video close to the crime scene. It belonged to a man named Henry Tenon who had a lengthy arrest record and was renting a home from Fernandez.

Tenon was arrested in January 2023 and on March 16, pleaded guilty and then "agreed to testify against Mario Fernandez Saldana, who was arrested that same day in Orlando," per The Florida Times-Union. Five months later, Gardner was also arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Gardner is represented by Jose Baez, the attorney who previously represented Casey Anthony. Her trial is scheduled for April 13, 2024.

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