Widow of Slain Microsoft Exec Launches Charity in Honor of Daughter Who Witnessed Murder

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A Florida mom whose Microsoft husband was executed nearly a year ago in front of their toddler has started a charity to help other kids brutally caught in the middle of crimes.

Hoping to provide some measure of comfort to children in similar circumstances, Kirsten Bridegan formed a non-profit organization to create Bexley Boxes, which provides care kits to law enforcement agencies that include diapers, toys, snacks, wipes, and formula.

With the crime still unsolved, Kirsten said the campaign has helped her deal with her grief.

“It’s been very hard to have suffered such a loss and seemingly no justice, to feel like I’m treading water and there’s not much I can do but try to help kids in similar situations,” Kirsten told UKTN News Digital.

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A family portrait of Jared and Kirsten Bridegan with their daughters Bexley and London and Jared’s twins from his first marriage.
(Infinity Focus Photography/Madeline Insignares)

Jared Bridegan, 33, was shot dead on Feb. 16, 2022 after dropping twins he shares with his ex-wife Shanna Gardner-Fernandez at her home in Jacksonville Beach.

He was driving home with his then 2-year-old daughter whom he shares with his new wife, Kristen.

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The doting dad saw a tire in the middle of a remote stretch of road and stopped his car to remove it.

An unknown assailant opened fire as Bexley watched from her car seat.

Kirsten Bridegan and her daughters Bexley and London pose with St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick and other law enforcement officers.

Kirsten Bridegan and her daughters Bexley and London pose with St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick and other law enforcement officers.
(Kiara Talbot/ St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office)

The terrified toddler remained in the car near her father’s lifeless body for a full three minutes until a passerby stumbled upon the gruesome scene.

Kirsten was at home with the couple’s then 7-month-old daughter, London.

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Police took the shaken child to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, where she waited for hours without a drinking cup or properly sized diapers as detectives questioned her mother.

“They basically had nothing but a coloring book and a plush cop car, and that stuck with me for months,” she said.

Jared and Kirsten Bridegan pose for an engagement photo.

Jared and Kirsten Bridegan pose for an engagement photo.
(Courtesy of Courtney Fonda)

The first delivery went to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, which is leading the investigation into her husband’s murder.

Kirsten visited the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday to drop off another Bexley Box.

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Dozens of law enforcement officers — including St. John’s Sheriff Robert Hardwick — were on hand to greet the grieving mother.

“The strength of Kirsten and her family in the midst of a terrible tragedy is humbling,” Hardwick told UKTN News Digital. “We look forward to working with her to further her mission by ensuring that every police station or agency has a Bexley Box.”

Kirsten Bridegan poses with her daughters Bexley and London, who are standing on a Bexley Box at the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Kirsten Bridegan poses with her daughters Bexley and London, who are standing on a Bexley Box at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
(Kiara Tolbert/St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office)

She profusely thanked the law enforcement crowd for their support and told them how her visits to the police helped her daughter heal.

“Bexley would freeze for a while if she heard sirens, she would panic,” Kirsten said. “Now, the police are good. It’s not always scary, they don’t just meet them when bad things happen. They’re there to help us.”

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It was the seventh refillable box Kirsten has delivered – and the contents have all been donated through her nonprofit Bridegan Foundation.

She has also raised over $22,000 on givebutter.com to support her mission.

The murder investigation, conducted by the Jacksonville Beach Police Department and District Attorney Melissa Nelson’s Office, is ongoing and no suspects have yet been publicly named.

Jared and his ex, Gardner-Fernandez, had a bitter divorce and custody battle that only ended with his death.

She and her husband, Mario Fernandez, employed powerful criminal defense attorney Henry Coxe III shortly after the murder, but denied any involvement in the crime. The lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.

A poster announces a $55,000 reward for information on the unsolved murder of Jared Bridegan.

A poster announces a $55,000 reward for information on the unsolved murder of Jared Bridegan.
(Jacksonville Beach Police Station)

As Kirsten tearfully spoke at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, Bexley walked over to her mother and hugged her before returning to her front row seat.

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“My dad passed away and he’s in heaven,” the little girl told the deputy next to her. “That’s why my mom is sad.”

Emmett Jones contributed to this report.

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