Unraveling the Enigma: Shanna Gardner’s Arrest in the Jacksonville Beach Murder Case

State Attorney Melissa Nelson held a brief press conference on Thursday, announcing the final update in the high-profile case of Shanna Gardner’s arrest in the Jacksonville beach murder. She mentioned that she had a conversation with her 4-year-old daughter Baxley, who was in the car that day. Using simple words, she explained that “two bad people” are in jail in relation to her father’s passing, and the woman she referred to as the “mean mom” is also there.

Shanna Gardner's Arrest in the Jacksonville Beach Murder

35-year-old Fernandez Saldana was apprehended in Orange County on March 16 with charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, serious offenses, and solicitation for child abuse. These are the same charges held against 36-year-old Gardner, who was apprehended on Thursday in the state of Washington,
Where she lives. Fernandez Saldana was arrested on the exact day Nelson revealed that 62-year-old Henry Arthur Tenon admitted to second-degree murder in the shooting and was recognized as the person who pulled the trigger. He was the first person charged in this case on January 25.

Shanna Gardner's Arrest in the Jacksonville Beach Murder

Tenon agreed to testify against Saldana and others possibly involved in the 2022 ambush on Bridegan. Joe is a 33-year-old Microsoft executive from St. Augustine. Nelson stated that Tenon had been renting a house from Fernandez Saldana.

Bridegan’s widow, Kristen Bridegan, and family were also present at Thursday’s press conference.

“Very quickly, everything in my body and soul told me that she was behind it,” Kristen Bridegan said.

Nelson stated that her office and law enforcement promised at the start of the investigation that they would not rest until the truth was revealed. She did not pose questions or discuss Gardner’s role or eventual apprehension. However, she stated that the investigation is still ongoing.

Shanna Gardner's Arrest in the Jacksonville Beach Murder

“Henry Tenon did not act alone. Mario Fernandez did not plan alone. And the charges against Shanna Gardner acknowledge her central and significant role in the cold, calculated, and planned murder of Jared Bridegan,” Nelson said._

In 2018, Fernandez Saldana tied the knot with Gardner, whose parents recently disclosed that they had been living apart for a while. Following the extensive media attention surrounding the case, Gardner relocated to Washington state along with her children and hasn’t been in touch with The Times-Union since last June. when she stated that she wanted people to know that she was not considering all investigations.

Authorities have not discussed the motive, but the arrest warrant states, “An examination of Bridegan’s background revealed his former wife, Shanna Gardner’s very acrimonious divorce, and a controversial relationship with Gardner and Fernandez Saldana.”

The indictment also alleges that Gardner and Fernandez Saldana conspired between November 1, 2021, and February 16, 2022, to kill Bridegan. For Gardner, her participation is said to extend back to May 2015, a few months after filing for divorce.

Shanna Gardner's Arrest in the Jacksonville Beach Murder

Fernandez Saldana and Tennon are alleged to have circled the ambush on Bridegan, that is February 16, Mario and Shanna were shot after leaving their twin children at their Jacksonville Beach home in 2022. Bridegan was on his way home to St. Augustine, living with his 2-year-old daughter, when he stopped due to a tire issue on Sancture Road.

At the start of the case, police explained that they did not feel a tire malfunction was occurring. It was a dimly lit residential road Bridegan regularly took to lead to Butler Boulevard. Police said that when he turned on hazard lights and exited to move it, he was immediately shot. The child was unharmed in her safety seat and nothing was stolen.

On Shanna Gardner Behalf

Gardner’s attorney Hank Cox said her position is the same as she does not openly comment on pending cases.

The Kirtan McConney law firm in Salt Lake City, Utah, made the following statement on behalf of Gardner’s parents, Shelley and Sterling Gardner:

“Words cannot accurately express the depth of our suffering. Family is our top priority.
We hold deep affection for our daughter and prioritize providing her and our entire family with unwavering support, especially as we witness our grandchildren navigate through this challenging and confusing period. For their sake and all those involved, we caution against further speculation and ask for privacy as the legal process takes its course. In the meantime, we are grateful for the support, care, and prayers generously shared by friends and loved ones.”

Her parents are founders of the highly successful Stampin’ Up! Arts and Crafts Company in the Mormon community in Utah.

Kristen Bridegan’s Response

Shanna Gardner's Arrest in the Jacksonville Beach Murder

“For 547 days, we hoped and prayed for this day to arrive,” said Bridegan’s widow, whose case was depicted as “Dr. Phil” this week.

“Shanna’s arrest ends a chilling chapter in our quest for justice for Jared, and now we open a new one,” she said. “The next chapter will be painful. But we have confidence in the SAO’s and law enforcement’s ability to uncover the truth. We hope justice will be fully served under the law.”

Shanna Gardner's Arrest in the Jacksonville Beach Murder

She stated that she told her now 4-year-old daughter Baxley who was in the car that day, with simple words that “two bad people” In jail in connection with her father’s death and the woman “she called the mean mom” are still there.

As for twin children Abby and Liam, they said they have been “kept and isolated from us” while staying with their mother Gardner, stepfather, and maternal grandparents.

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“Despite seeing and speaking with my continuous requests, I have been denied and continuously ignored,” she teared up. “
I kindly request the guardians to place Liam and Abby’s emotional and mental well-being as their top priority, and to grant them the opportunity to reestablish a connection with us. We are their family, we love them. Let our children be siblings again and prioritize them and do what’s right.”

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