Police arrested a neighbor in the suspected killing of a 6-year-old Arkansas girl who was the victim of a high-profile child abuse case last year that sent her father and stepmother to prison.
Police Chief Jon Simpson said Monday that 28-year-old Zachary Holly is being held in the Benton County Jail for the November 20 death of Jersey Bridgeman, his next-door neighbor. Her body was discovered in an abandoned house two doors from her home in Bentonville. Holly was charged with capital murder, kidnapping and residential burglary.
Simpson said Holly will have a bail and probable cause hearing Wednesday, during which a probable cause affidavit will be released. At that point, "many questions related to this investigation and arrest will be answered," Simpson said.
Police Captain Justin Thompson said the girl died sometime between midnight and 6:53 a.m. on November 20. Investigators later searched the home where she lived and the house where her body was found, as well as the homes in between.
No further details were released into how Jersey died or what led police to Holly, but Simpson said work by the State Crime Lab helped speed the arrest.
About a year before her death, Jersey's father and stepmother were charged with abuse after investigators discovered they had chained her to a dresser to stop her wandering around the house at night. Her father, David Bridgeman, told investigators he restrained his daughter to prevent her from getting into medication and other things around the house.
David and Jana Bridgeman, Jersey's stepmother, pleaded guilty in June to false imprisonment, permitting abuse of a minor and endangering the welfare of a minor. Jana Bridgeman is serving a 12-year prison sentence, plus three years for a probation revocation. David Bridgeman is serving an 18-year prison sentence.
A funeral for Jersey is set for 1 p.m. Tuesday at Rogers Funeral Home in Rogers.