NELSONVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — The Athens County Coroner’s Office has concluded that Bryan Kyle Bridgeman, who disappeared from his home near Nelsonville on June 4, 2021, died by suicide.
According to the findings of the investigation, P.J. Coon, 37, and Bridgeman, 30, were walking away from Bridgeman’s home, taking a route through the woods to a residence where they were allegedly going to purchase a video game. Bridgeman had $80 with him, the Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said in a release.
After stopping at the top of a hill, Coon handed a gun to Bridgeman and Bridgeman shot himself in the head, the prosecutor said. Coon then fled with the gun as he has a federal conviction and had an active warrant out of Fairfield County for his arrest. Coon fled the state, the prosecutor said.
Family and the Nelsonville community conducted searches and held vigils. The Golden Hearts, a Voice 4 the Voiceless, scoured the area looking for Bridgeman’s body over the five months that his body remained in the woods. However, Bridgeman’s body remained undiscovered until Nov. 10, 2021. The $80 was still with Bridgeman’s body, the prosecutor’s media release said.
“We are terribly sorry for the family,” Blackburn said. “It’s a terrible situation any time there’s a loss of life. We traveled to South Carolina and Alabama, and our office and the sheriff’s office spend hundreds of hours investigating this. Death is tragic for so many, and I am so sorry that the grandmother is going through this.”
Law enforcement found the body as a result of information from Coon, according to the prosecutor.
“Dedicated professionals from three different offices concluded this given all the facts,” Blackburn said. “Without PJ Coon telling us where the body is, I don’t know that the search would be over.”
Bridgeman was laid to rest in a private ceremony in December 2021.
Coon’s ex-wife, Lindsey Woolever, 32, (aka Lindsey Coon) of Rockbridge, was not present during the incident. She left Bridgeman’s home prior with another individual named “Tennessee,” according to the prosecutor. Woolever pleaded guilty to trafficking in heroin, unlawful transactions in weapons, and having weapons while under disability. She was sentenced to a minimum of five-and-a-half to eight years in prison.
Coon, 37, of Nelsonville, is charged with having weapons while under disability and unlawful transactions in weapons. He is scheduled for a change of plea hearing in Athens County Common Pleas Court on July 13, the prosecutor’s media release said.