You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

School officials: Ark. girl joyful despite abuse

LITTLE ROCK — Jersey Bridgeman endured a lot in her young life, including abuse at the hands of her father and stepmother, but school officials say she was still a happy girl.

Now, with the couple away in prison for chaining her to a dresser last year, authorities are trying to figure out who killed the 6-year-old. Her body was found in a vacant house this week in Bentonville, a northwest Arkansas city best known as the home of Walmart’s headquarters.

Continue reading below

‘‘To find out that the girl had been abused before, to me it was like: ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ ’’ said Mike Poore, school superintendent in Bentonville, where Bridgeman attended kindergarten at Sugar Creek Elementary. ‘‘How can someone that young go through so much?’’

Still, despite the hardships she faced, Bridgeman managed to delight those she met.

‘‘She’s an amazing child,’’ said Mary Ley, communications director for Bentonville schools. ‘‘She’d been through a lot and still had joy.’’

Police in the city about 215 miles northwest of Little Rock have said they’re investigating her death as a homicide, but they won’t disclose how she died.

Authorities haven’t identified any suspects.

Captain Justin Thompson said Bridgeman’s body was found in a vacant house two doors down from the home where she lived with her mother. He said investigators believe the girl died sometime between midnight and 6:53 a.m. Tuesday, when her body was found about 10 minutes after someone called police to report her missing.

Thompson would not say who called 911.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.