'Girl Chained To Dresser' Dies: Jersey Bridgeman, 6, Had Abusive Parents [VIDEO UPDATE]
Jersey Bridgeman, the "girl chained to dresser" was found dead early Tuesday morning near Little Rock, Arkansas. The cause of death is unclear, but the six-year old girl's body was found minutes after she was reported missing, police told the Associate Press.
Jersey was found in an abandoned house not far from her own home. Her body has been brought to a nearby hospital where an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.
Police are treating the death of Jersey Bridgeman death as homicide for now, but have yet to release a list of suspect, Bentonville Police Chief Jon Simpson told AP.
The most obvious suspect, Jersey's father David Bridgeman likely has a solid alibi, as he was incarcerated last year on charges of child abuse and sentenced to 18 years in jail.
It's still unclear if the recent news is connected to David Bridgeman's abusive history, but it may be the best clue the police have to go on. The fact that the FBI have also been called in to assist with the case suggest is a difficult one. Police have reportedly been searching nearby homes for clues, and have uncovered 50 pieces of evidence, according to 5 News Online.
However, it's still unclear who the girl was living with at the time and who reported that Jersey Bridgeman was missing.
"There was a unique quality about Jersey," local Children's Advocacy director Beverly Engle told AP. "A little old soul, but such a delight."
Last year when David Bridgeman was arrested, Engle spoke about Jersey's living conditions at the time, revealing that she was forced to sleep on the floor in the her father and step mother's bedroom.
"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 recorded in the affidavit.
Specifically, they "put a belt around her waist so that she could not get up and get any food."
Both Jana and David Bridgeman pleaded guilty to charges of child abuse, and Jana is now serving a 12 year sentence in jail while David serves 18 years.
On Tuesday night over 100 people joined together to mourn Jersey Bridgeman's death with a candlelight vigil. Jersey Bridgeman's uncle, Jason Bridgeman, has launched a fundraising page on GiveForward.com to help pay for the funeral and headstone with a goal of raising $5,000.
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