NELSONVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — Late Wednesday afternoon, Bryan Kyle Bridgeman’s grandmother noticed strange activity on her road just outside of Nelsonville.
“It was funny because I had passed the police on the way to Athens, and then I came back, passed them again thinking, hmmm…” said Linda Johnson, who made the original call in June to report her 30-year-old grandson missing. “Came home, and then just a few minutes after that, they came again.
“And the Athens County Sheriff and the prosecutor…and they [said they] had gotten some information about Bryan. And after doing some searching they came — Captain Cooper [of Athens County Sheriff’s Office] came — and told me they found him.”
Information Wednesday led to a renewed search by the sheriff and prosecutor’s office near Bridgeman’s home. “Human remains were discovered at the site by deputies resulting in the Athens County Coroner’s Office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation being called to the scene,” said Athens County Prosecuting Attorney, Keller Blackburn in a media release.
“Your heart always holds a sliver of hope,” said Linda Johnson. “But I knew Kyle, probably better than he knew himself. And I knew, as the months went by, he wasn’t coming home, unless God brought him home.”
The Athens County Coroner’s Office said in a statement to NBC4 on Thursday: ” At this time, I do not have a positive scientific identification on the remains.”
Johnson was asked to identify an item of his clothing for the sheriff’s office.
“Kyle had tattoos,” she recalled. “So maybe something like that was left on his, on the bones, and then his shoes. Captain Cooper asked about, described a pair of shoes, and we knew those were Kyle’s.”
Although the months have been long, Johnson says she appreciates the support she’s received. “I just appreciate everybody’s prayers, and their kind words. I appreciate the Athens County Sheriff’s Department, and Golden Hearts for support and for being out there searching for Bryan. I just appreciate it all.”
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Lena Wilson (pictured right), of Golden Hearts Voice 4 the Voiceless, came to the search in August. Since then, this search-and-rescue organization from Coshocton has worked tirelessly to check abandoned houses, wells, and woods with cadaver dogs, search teams, and horses.
Golden Hearts’ role isn’t over, says Wilson. They will continue to support Johnson and her family through the funeral and the justice process.