Local police and the FBI are investigating the case of Jersey Bridgeman, a 6-year-old girl previously abused by her father and stepmother, who died on Tuesday, November 20.
Pending the release of the autopsy result, police are treating the case as a homicide. The incident occurred in Bentonville, Arkansas, where she lived following her parents' imprisonment on child abuse charges. In an earlier report from last year she was found chained to a dresser with a dog leash.
5 News details that officers were called in at 6:43 a.m. on a missing child report. Within 15 minutes of searching the neighborhood, Jersey's body was found in an abandoned house.
No suspects in the case have been pinpointed as of yet, however three search warrants were executed in the area, resulting in the collection of around 50 pieces of evidence. Jersey's home, the house where she was found and a nearby trailer were searched.
“We do have several residents of interest on SE A Street,” Police Chief Jon Simpson said, during a press conference on Wednesday.
The man who owned the trailer was questioned during the inquiry. The little girl was living with mother DesaRae Bridgeman, listed on Facebook as being in a relationship with an E-Z Mart attendant by the name of Brandon Thomas.
In June, father David Bridgeman and stepmother Jana Bridgeman both pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, abuse and endangerment of a minor for chaining their daughter to a dresser using a belt. The girl also had a dog collar on when the police were called in by a woman staying with the family.
David is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence, while Jana, identified in court as Jana Slinkard, was sentenced to 12 years on the aforementioned charges and three years for probation violation.
Jersey had described they immobilized her “so that she could not get up and get any food.”
“She said that Jana and David chain her to the dresser because she had gotten up and eaten some pies, cereal, and bread,” Rogers Police Detective Larry Taylor declared in court at the time, a report by the Washington Post reveals.