The ex-wife of slain Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan has moved 2,800 miles from Florida to the Pacific Northwest as investigators are set to announce an arrest is imminent in the unsolved murder, Fox News Digital reports.
Nearly a year after the father of four was executed in front of his toddler, Bexley, in north Florida, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez quietly uprooted her 10-year-old twins Jared and moved to West Richland, Washington.
When asked Monday to comment on the major development in the case, he replied: “No, I’m sorry.” Minutes later, she was spotted in her white Tesla in a grocery store parking lot, talking on her cell phone.
Jared’s second wife, Kirsten Bridegan, with whom he shares 3-year-old Bexley and 1-year-old London, said she was surprised Gardner-Fernandez had become so distant.
“Honestly, I was shocked,” she told Fox News Digital in an interview Monday. “First, the twins lost their dad, then they were completely cut off from their sisters, and now they’re estranged from school, friends, sports teams. They’re so isolated and that’s what worries me.”
Jared had custody of the twins every other week, but shortly after his murder, Gardner-Fernandez cut off all contact with his family, according to Kirsten.
“It was an added loss,” he said. “In addition to losing Jared, my children also lost their siblings. I have lost my stepchildren. I’ve been trying for months and months to get in touch and I’ve gotten nowhere.”
Gardner-Fernandez, 35, and Bridegan, 33, separated in 2016 — but continued to battle over finances and custody of the twins in family court until his death on February 16, 2022.
A law enforcement source told Fox News Digital an arrest was expected as early as Wednesday, but would not elaborate.
Gardner-Fernandez and her second husband, Mario Fernandez, remain suspects in the mysterious killing, according to a second source.
After the murder, the couple retained high-powered criminal defense attorney Henry Coxe III, who declined to comment for this story Monday.
Less than a year after the children tragically lost their father, Gardner-Fernandez pulled them out of their private school in Jacksonville Beach and moved them into a six-bedroom, four-bathroom home in the Tri-Cities area of southeast Washington.
Property records show the contemporary ranch home was purchased in September for $1 million by Whitesand LLC, which lists the Alpine, Utah address of her parents, Shelli and Sterling Gardner.
Shelli Gardner founded the paper company Stampin’ Up, which has an estimated annual revenue of more than $100 million per year, according to IncFact.
Her parents are prominent members of the Mormon community known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
They were in West Ritland last week to visit their daughter and grandchildren — and attended a service individually Sunday at a local LDS church.
Jared was a faithful follower of the faith. Gardener-Fernandez turned away from religion after their 2010 wedding and then allegedly had an affair, prompting their acrimonious split, Fox News Digital previously reported.
Her second marriage is also faltering. Shortly after the murder, neighbors said they no longer saw Fernandez at the couple’s $1 million Jacksonville Beach home, which they co-own, and that he did not go with her on the couple’s move.
It was listed for sale on Oct. 27 then withdrawn from the market on Jan. 3, public records show.
Gardner-Fernandez’s main connection to West Richland appears to be a friend she met at a baking convention in 2020, Marla Rogers, who owns the house next door.
Rogers runs Marla’s Cookie Co. out of her home, as Gardner-Fernandez operates her own bakery, the now-shuttered Beach Baked 904, from her home in Florida.
Gardner-Fernandez made a brief appearance Sunday in a video posted by Rogers on her company’s Instagram page.
As Rogers is seen cleaning up after teaching a cookie-decorating class, Gardner-Fernandez walks into her kitchen wearing a shirt that says, “PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME TEACH!”
Jared was murdered on February 16, 2022, on the beach in Jacksonville after taking his twins and Bexley, then 2, out to dinner. The software engineer had just dropped the twins off at their mother’s house when he encountered a flat tire on the single track.
He got out of his Volkswagen Atlas to move it and was shot repeatedly by an unknown assailant as Bexley watched from her car seat.
“She has good days where she’s happy,” Kirsten said. “But it’s going to be a lifetime for her to process those emotions and the trauma of what she’s been through.”
Few details have been released about the investigation, a joint effort by the Jacksonville Beach Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit led by Melissa Nelson.
Early in the investigation, police asked for the public’s help in identifying a dark blue Ford F-150 captured on surveillance footage near the crime scene, and there is a $55,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Kirsten said she and her daughters are trying to heal, but New Year’s was especially challenging.
“We’ve ended the last year of being a full family and started a whole new year that won’t have those memories or Jared in them,” she said. “It was very hard”.