NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! In a shocking turn of events regarding the death of Jared Bridegan, police files indicate that his ex-new wife’s husband was looked into in relation to an animal cruelty complaint after a beloved neighborhood cat unexpectedly vanished.
Before being married in April 2018 in a low-key courthouse ceremony, Mario Fernandez, 34, and Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, 35, purchased a home in a posh Jacksonville Beach, Florida suburb.
But a few weeks after they moved home, their relationship with some of their neighbors took a sad turn when Apollo, a beloved black and white cat, was killed with a BB pistol.
The proprietor told Fernandez of Apollos passing not long after the murder. According to a police report, Fernandez allegedly answered by coldly declaring to the grieving neighbor “how much he loathed cats.”
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On the anniversary of the unsolved murder of 33-year-old Bridegan, the cat death discovery was made.
After dropping off his 10-year-old twins with Gardner-Fernandez at her house about two miles away, the Microsoft executive was shot and killed on February 16 in front of his 2-year-old daughter, Bexley, on a forested stretch of road. In the middle of the road, he had stopped his Volkswagen Atlas to change a tire.
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Bexley and London, both 1 years old, are shared by the software designer and Kirsten Bridegan, his second wife.
The father of four was executed, but the Jacksonville Beach Police Department has not publicly identified a person of interest. However, a law enforcement source told Fox News Digital that Gardner-Fernandez and her husband are still suspects in the case. They have not been accused of any wrongdoing in relation to the murder.
Since their divorce, Bridegan and Gardner-Fernandez have been engaged in nearly continual litigation over their children. Only the IT managers’ passing put an end to the bitter legal battle.
About three years after her contentious divorce from Bridegan, Gardner-Fernandez, the heiress to the Stampin Up! papercraft company, wed her new husband, a part-time personal trainer.
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But the perplexing cat killing soon overshadowed the newlyweds’ brand-new beginning on the peaceful cul-de-sac. According to police records, the kind-hearted stray was taken in by a neighbor in 2013 who fed him frequently and allowed him to sleep on his back porch.
The adoring cat quickly established itself as a regular on the street, a source told Fox News Digital.
However, the neighbor reportedly saw blood on Apollo’s right leg on November 30, 2018.
He carried his ailing comrade in his arms and drove him to the doctor. The kitty had been shot with a BB gun, according to an X-ray.
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Apollo was still groggy and in agony after the wound was attended to. Apollo was also hit in the abdomen; the pellet had torn through his internal organs, the frightened owner learned when she went back to the veterinarian a few days later for fresh X-rays. Apollo was put to sleep on the veterinarian’s recommendation.
According to documents, the devastated owner, who had spent more than $1,800 to attempt to save Apollo, called the police on December 4 and reported the event to Officer Allan Ford.
Weeks previously, Fernandez and his neighbors had a dispute over feeding stray cats close to his house. On December 3, after phoning to report the cat annoyance, a “very irate” Fernandez spoke to a police officer from the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, according to the report.
Officer Kelsey Eberle stated in the documents, “He mentioned he had cats in his backyard and it was causing his dog bark in the middle of the night.” Additionally, Hernandez said that he had tried shooting the cats with a BB pistol and spraying pepper on the fence.
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Fernandez was informed by the officer that it was cruel to shoot a cat with a pellet pistol and that he might be punished with animal cruelty.
At that point, Fernandez said he “didn’t want damage to occur to an innocent animal” and asked the officer if he was aware that his neighbor’s cat had passed away a few days prior from a pellet gun injury.
Fernandez, the cat was ambushed around the same time the high school bus arrived to drop off its passengers, raising the possibility that one of the teenagers was to blame.
Because Fernandez boasted about using a BB gun with a scope to shoot squirrels, several neighbors said they were aware of his possession of one.
According to the report, Fernandez declined three further attempts by Officers Ford and Eberle to talk with him as part of their investigation, thus police closed the case as unresolved.
Disputes between Fernandez and his neighbors about the large number of stray cats in the area weren’t new.
A 70-year-old woman was feeding the stray animals in the same month that Apollo was shot when Fernandez made her uncomfortable and she called the police.
According to the report, Fernandez did not like her feeding animals across the street from his property, so he menacingly walked his pit bull close to her to “intimidate and scare off the cats she was feeding.”
Fernandez was approached by the officer and stated that “no evil intent” existed and that he was simply strolling his dog.
Years before Bridegan’s death, the twins also expressed worries to Bridegan in September 2018 over Fernandez.
Bridegan sent Gardner-Fernandez a worried email after her daughter reported that Fernandez “was squeezing me very hard and I do not like it.”
“I appreciate the email. I understand exactly what “our daughter” is referring to, and it has been dealt with “According to the email conversation Fox News Digital was able to get, his ex-wife replied.