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A Year Later: Jersey Bridgeman's Death Still Affecting Many

BENTONVILLE, AR -- A Bentonville detective keeps a photograph of the smiling 6-year-old above his desk.
"It's something that's hard to totally put away and not think about." -- Jon Simpson, police chief, Bentonville
The day 6-year-old Jersey's Bridgeman's body was found is a day many, including investigators, will never forget.

"We probably all remember that day in great detail," says Bentonville police chief Jon Simpson.

Wednesday will be a year, since 6-year-old Jersey Bridgeman's body was found in an abandoned home on Southeast A Street in Bentonville.

"It was among one of the youngest victims that we'd ever had," Simpson says.

Today, instead of cop cars and crime tape, purple bows, still, line the street.

The makeshift Jersey memorials have been up the entire year.

"We never want to see anything like this again," Simpson says.

Simpson reflects on the November 20-12 tragedy, as one of the first at the scene.

It happened two days before Thanksgiving.

"Before anyone could even suggest what needed to be done, all of our detectives that had family plans and what not canceled everything," Simpson says.

One of those lead detectives has his own makeshift memorial.

Sitting above his desk, a photograph of a smiling Jersey greets him every day.

"You can't help but think about people that you know in your own family when you have anything like this happen," Simpson says.

He adds, the human factor of this case is what motivated authorities to conduct a detailed, yet timely investigation.

"I think everyone involved felt like they were against the clock, but at the same time we knew that we couldn't make mistakes," Simpson says.

Police arrested a neighbor, Zachary Holly, less than a week after they found her.

Holly is set to go on trial next April, for the murder and rape of Jersey Bridgeman.

"Because it is still open it's something that's hard to totally put away and not think about," Simpson says.

"We know that no matter what we do we can't turn back the clock so the only thing that we can do is go forward and come to the best resolution that our law and our courts will allow. That's where we're at today still looking toward that."

A balloon-release ceremony will be held Wednesday, November 20 at 11:30 a.m. at the Children's Advocacy Center of Benton County. The ceremony will pay tribute to all the children who have lost their lives at the hands of child abuse this year.

The ceremony is expected to wrap up around noon.
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