Bentonville 6 Year Old Died Of Asphyxiation, Report States

The Bentonville girl who was found killed Nov. 20 died of asphyxiation, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by 5NEWS on Wednesday.

A rape charge was added the same day to several other charges against the man accused of killing 6-year-old Jersey Bridgeman.

A swab test on Jersey’s body showed traces of sperm, according to the affidavit. Zachary Holly, Jersey’s accused killer, consented to cheek swabs for DNA comparison. He also gave authorities clothes he had worn since going to bed the night of Jersey’s death, the report states.

Investigators also collected DNA samples from other persons of interest in the case, although police would not elaborate in the probable cause affidavit.

Holly will be held in jail without bond, Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Greene said Wednesday in a bond hearing. Holly, 28, was arrested Monday on suspicion of killing Jersey Bridgeman. He also faces charges of capital murder, kidnapping and residential burglary.

Several family and friends filled the courtroom during the hearing to determine the probable cause against the murder suspect. Holly’s arraignment was set for Jan. 7.

Holly’s only spoken words during the hearing were, “Yes, ma’am,” when the judge ordered him to have no contact with the Bridgeman family.

Greene revealed she denied a request from Jersey’s father to attend the girl’s funeral, which was held Tuesday.

David Bridgeman is in prison after police said he chained Jersey to a dresser last year at their Rogers home.

Holly lives in the trailer next door to Jersey’s home in Bentonville. He also lives between Jersey’s home and a vacant house where her body was found Nov. 20.

Jersey lived at 608 S.E. A St. with her mother, who called the police early in the morning to report her daughter was missing. Officers found Jersey’s body fewer than 15 minutes later, in a nearby vacant house at 704 S.E. A St.

The probable cause affidavit states Holly and his wife babysat Jersey the night of her death while DesaRae Bridgeman and Bridgeman’s boyfriend were working. Holly later carried Jersey back to her house shortly after Desarae Bridgeman returned around 11 p.m.. He told police he had nothing to do with Jersey’s death, according to the report.

Holly’s wife has been booked four times into local jails since 2007, according to records from the Washington County Detention Center and the Benton County Jail. She was booked into Benton County in July on suspicion of driving with a suspended license and contempt of court. The wife was booked into Washington County twice in 2010, once on suspicion of failure to pay costs, and the other time on suspicion of failure to have proper insurance.

She was also booked into Washington County jail in 2007 on suspicion of writing hot checks, according to records.

Holly went to the nearby E-Z Mart at about 3:30 a.m. for Pepto Bismol stomach medicine and is seen on surveillance video, the probable cause affidavit states. He told police he went to bed after getting the stomach medicine and woke up at 6:30 p.m. to get his four-year-old stepson ready for school.

DesaRae Bridgeman called police at about 6:45 a.m. to report her daughter missing. Jersey and her younger sister shared a bed, but Jersey was nowhere to be seen, the report states. Police estimated her death to have been between midnight and 6:45 a.m.

While on the phone with police, Bridgeman became so upset that she had to hand the phone off to Holly’s wife.

While searching for Jersey, an officer noticed the back door to 704 SE A St. was open. Jersey’s body was found minutes later inside the vacant house.

Click here to see more stories related to the investigation.

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