After tech exec gunned down in front of child, family is seeking answers in Utah

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.

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 four 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.

For the 33-year-old man's widow, Kirsten Bridegan: "We take it day by day, both me and my daughter."

The killing happened in Jacksonville, Florida, where Jared Bridegan and his family had moved to be near his oldest children. No surveillance cameras captured the shooting, and no arrests have been made. But his family hopes clues to his death can be found in Utah, where he and his wife attended college in Utah County. His ex-wife is also from Utah, where they had the twins, now age 9.

Nothing was stolen from Jared Bridegan, leading the police and his family to believe it was a setup, Jenkins said.

"Honestly, we're all in grief counseling because this has been the worst nightmare that we've ever had to endure," she said.

Jared Bridegan worked as a senior design manager at Microsoft. Before that, he 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.

While their infant daughter is too young to know what happened, Kirsten Bridegan said she and her 2-year-old daughter have good days where they're able to laugh, but also many difficult days.

"That's why I'm pouring so much effort into sharing this with news stations, sharing this on social media, because that helps me to cope," she said, adding that "fighting for answers" for her husband helps her through each day.

If a suspect was found, "It'd mean everything. My husband didn't deserve this. My family didn't deserve this. I want him to have justice. His life was cut short. All four of his children are now fatherless. The years they'd expected to have with their dad, they don't have him to walk them down the aisle, to be there at his graduation ... that's gone and that can't be replaced," Kirsten Bridegan said.

It would help to know someone is paying a "very small price" for what they've taken away, she added.

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. Kirsten Bridegan said the truck could now be anywhere.

Police are searching for a truck seen at the scene of the shooting of Jared Bridegan in Jacksonville, Florida.
Police are searching for a truck seen at the scene of the shooting of Jared Bridegan in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo: Kristen Jenkins)

For someone to have gone through the effort to plan the murder, Kirsten Bridegan doubts they would keep driving the truck if it did belong to them. But she urged anyone who knows someone who drove a truck like it, who might have stopped driving it within recent months, to contact investigators.

"My hope by sharing this is that so more people are aware, so that if someone sees the truck that fits the description, that they would call the police," she 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, though invited to his funeral, didn't attend. When asked for comment on those reports, Jenkins said the children were not allowed to attend but did not provide additional details. They also weren't allowed to attend a vigil in his honor, Kirsten Bridegan said.

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.

Kirsten Bridegan said no suspects have been named.

A group of Utah tech companies, the group Crime Stoppers, private donors, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and companies have offered $55,000 for information leading to a conviction in Jared 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.

Correction: A previous version said Bridegan was shot three times. A previous version also said both his ex-wife and twins were invited to his funeral, but just the children were invited.

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Ashley Imlay is an evening news manager for A lifelong Utahn, Ashley has also worked as a reporter for the Deseret News and is a graduate of Dixie State University.


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