After Jared Bridegan was killed in front of his daughter in Florida, his family hopes clues to his death might be found in Utah, where he used to live and work. (Family photo)
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SALT LAKE CITY — About three months ago, Jared Bridegan dropped off his twin children from a previous marriage at his ex-wife’s house.
About a mile away, he came upon a tire in the middle of the narrow road. As soon as he exited his car to move the tire out of the way, he was shot three times at close range and killed.
“And the toughest thing about this case is that his 2-year-old daughter was watching in his back seat,” said his sister, Ashley Jenkins.
Nothing was stolen, leading the police and his family to believe it was a setup, Jenkins said.
“So it’s very personal. We know that it’s basically someone that had grievances with my brother,” she said. “Honestly, we’re all in grief counseling because this has been the worst nightmare that we’ve ever had to endure. His 2-year-old daughter still talks about seeing her father de ella go to the ground.”
The killing happened in Jacksonville, Florida, where Bridegan, 33, and his family had moved to be near his oldest children. No surveillance cameras captured the shooting, and no arrests have been made. But Bridegan’s family hopes clues to his death can be found in Utah, where he and his wife attended college in Utah County. His ex-wife of him is also from Utah, where they had the twins, now age 9.
Jenkins said the family believes some Utah residents might have heard things about the killing that could lead whoever did it to face justice.
“I would like to just plead for the public’s help to just speak up and share anything that might help this case, no matter how small they think it is. It could bring justice for his name, so just any tips would be greatly appreciated, Jenkins said.
Police are also searching for a pickup truck seen at the scene of the shooting — a dark blue Ford F-150, with brown or tan trim and running boards, that was manufactured between 2004-2008. Jenkins said the truck might now be in Utah.
Bridegan worked as a senior design manager at Microsoft. Before that, I worked for Utah company Clean Simple Eats. In addition to his twins and 2-year-old daughter, he and his wife also had a 7-month-old infant. Now, his widow is left dealing with the tragedy and taking care of the baby herself, Jenkins said.
Despite being shy and reserved, Jenkins said her brother was known and loved at work, in his neighborhood and in his family as someone who was always willing to help others.
“My brother was the one that the entire neighborhood went to for tools to help with projects around the house, and they absolutely loved (him). He was the first one to serve. Anyone could go to him for help with projects or to fix things and he dropped everything to help them,” Jenkins recalled.
She said he also loved spending time with his children and working on projects with them.
“His character was one of just service and love, and I think if there was anything he would want to be known for, it was for the love of all four of his children,” she said.
Other reports note the older children and ex-wife, although invited to his funeral, did not attend. When asked for comment on those reports, Jenkins said the children were not allowed to attend but did not provide additional details.
Jenkins said she believes whoever planned his killing “thought they were going to be able to get away with this” because of his quiet personality, but there are many people who care about him.
She declined to comment on whether police have named suspects, saying she wanted to protect the integrity of the case.
A group of Utah tech companies has offered $55,000 for information leading to a conviction in Bridegan’s death, Jenkins noted.
Those with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 866-845-8477. The family has also established an Instagram page at Justiceforjaredb, where they’re trying to spread the word through social media.
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