A six-year old girl in Arkansas, whose father is in prison for chaining her to a dresser, has died. Police are investigating her death as a possible homicide as a community mourns.
Bentonville police found Jersey Bridgeman's body in an abandoned house close to her own home a short while after she was reported missing on Tuesday morning, according to Bentonville Police Chief Jon Simpson.
The small town, about 215 miles northwest of Little Rock, has been rocked after news of the girl's tragic death spread. Police have not released any names of possible suspects and have not indicated how the girl died, pending the results of an autopsy.
A gathering of over 100 people attended a candlelight vigil, which was held at the Children's Advocacy Center of Benton County near Bentonville on Tuesday, explained the center's executive director, Beverly Engle.
"There was a unique quality about Jersey," Engle told AP. "A little old soul, but such a delight."
Engle revealed that the girl had visited the center after reports of her abuse were investigated by police in Rogers, close to Bentonville.
According to a court document, the girl told officers she slept on the floor in the same room as her father, David Bridgeman, and her stepmother, Jana Bridgeman. She also stated that she was chained to the dresser with a dog collar that was attached to her ankle.
"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 wrote in the court affidavit.
Court documents indicate that David Bridgeman told an investigator that his daughter got up while they were sleeping and took medication and food items so he and his wife decided to chain her to the dresser at night so she would not leave the room.
Both of the girl's parents are currently serving prison sentences and it was not immediately clear who the girl was staying with at the time of her death.