Rape, Murder Charges in Death of 6-Year-Old Bentonville, Ark., Girl

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BENTONVILLE, Ark., — Six-year-old Jersey Bridgeman died of asphyxiation, according to a probable cause released by Bentonville, Ark., authorities on Wednesday.

The little girl who first endured abuse from her biological father was found dead in a vacant home near her house on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Bridgeman’s father, in prison for chaining her to a dresser in 2011, was denied permission to attend her funeral, which was held on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

On the day before her funeral, police arrested and charged Bridgeman’s babysitter, Zachary Holly, in her death. Holly, 28, faces charges of capital murder, kidnapping and residential burglary.

Jersey Bridgeman, courtesy 5newsonline.com

Jersey Bridgeman, courtesy 5newsonline.com

On Wednesday, police said a swab test from Bridgeman’s body revealed traces of sperm. Authorities matched the results to Holly’s DNA, which police obtained through cheek swabs Holly consented to during the investigation.

According to KFSM, Holly lived in a trailer next door to Bridgeman. On the other side of Holly’s home is the vacant home where Bridgeman’s body was found.

Bridgeman’s mother, DesaRae Bridgeman, reported her missing around 6:45 Tuesday morning. Police located Bridgeman’s body less than 15 minutes after arriving at the scene.

According to the probable cause obtained by KFSM, Holly and his wife babysat Bridgeman the night of her death while her mother and her mother’s boyfriend were at work. Holly denied having anything to do with her death and told authorities he carried Bridgeman back to her house shortly after Bridgeman’s mother returned home around 11 p.m.

At 3:30 a.m., Holly is seen on surveillance video purchasing stomach medicine from an E-Z Mart. According to the probable cause, Holly told police he went to sleep after buying the medicine and woke up at 6:30 to get his four-year-old stepson ready for school.

Police said they estimate Bridgeman’s murder to have occurred between midnight and 6:45 a.m.

Holly is being held in jail without bond.

Follow coverage on this story from 5 News Online.

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