Jacksonville, Fla. – A family torn apart by a brutal murder is now facing a battleground for visitation rights. The parents of Jared Bridegan, a father of four who was killed in an ambush murder in Jacksonville Beach two years ago, are seeking visitation rights with Bridegan’s two older children. The children’s mother, Shanna Gardner, is accused of orchestrating the shooting death of Bridegan with her estranged husband Mario Fernandez, as both await trial for first-degree murder and other charges.
This situation has left Bridegan’s two older children, now 11 years old, in an unimaginable state of limbo. The twins live with their maternal grandparents in Washington state, while Bridegan’s younger daughters live in Florida with his widow. Despite the geographical separation, Bridegan’s parents have been fighting for in-person, unsupervised visitation with the older children.
The legal battle has taken a toll on the family, leading their friends to start a GoFundMe to raise money for attorneys. According to Ashley Bridegan, the children have only had one supervised visit with her parents, along with weekly video calls. The family has also considered seeking full custody of the older children but wants the children to have a say in the matter.
Amid the ongoing battle, Jared Bridegan’s family continues to push for what they believe is right while also grappling with the pending criminal trial for his murder. The emotional toll of the situation is palpable, as the family hopes to bring some sense of normalcy and connection back into the children’s lives.
Despite these efforts, News4JAX reached out to an attorney for Gardner’s parents for comment on the visitation case, but no response was immediately provided. The family’s journey to seek justice and connection amid tragedy continues, highlighting the deep emotional and legal complexities involved in cases of this nature.