Crime & Courts

Man charged in wife’s death after body is found by tour group north of Fairbanks

A Fox man has been charged with murder after his wife’s body was recently found by a tour group along the Dalton Highway north of Fairbanks, months after she had been reported missing, charges said.

Robert Bridges, 59, lied to Alaska State Troopers after he reported his wife, 65-year-old Kimberly Bridges, missing on Oct. 25 of last year, according to the charges. It wasn’t until her body was found that authorities were able to classify the death as a homicide.

Robert Bridges told troopers that his wife went missing after the couple received an insurance payout from an old RV, according to an affidavit written by Investigator Nicholas Saller. He said she was upset with him when she left with two other people a day earlier, the charges said. Bridges told investigators his wife had a history of depression and wanted him to kill her.

In the days leading up to the report, troopers said Bridges rented several different vehicles and could be seen with a mattress in the bed of a U-Haul pickup truck on Oct. 24. The mattress was folded in half and bound together with ratchet straps so it wouldn’t open, Saller wrote.

Kimberly Bridges’ daughter told troopers she received a text message from her mother’s phone on Oct. 23 that had seemed suspicious because it didn’t match her writing style.

Troopers initially considered the missing person report to be “highly suspicious, and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation began a multi-month investigation into the disappearance of Kimberly Bridges,” according to a troopers online report.

Robert Bridges had searched on Google for roads that intersected with major rivers in the area and dropped a GPS pin on the Tanana River and the Yukon River Bridge, the charges said.

On May 25, Kimberly Bridges’ body was found by a tour group at a pullout along the Dalton Highway, troopers said. She had been wrapped in bedding, including a mattress pad, which was covered with a green tarp and tied closed with a nylon rope, according to investigators.

An autopsy determined she had been shot in the back of the head, the charges said.

Investigators noted a number of false statements from Robert Bridges about his wife’s disappearance, and he was charged Friday with felony tampering with evidence and first- and second-degree murder.

He is being held at the Fairbanks Correctional Center on a $1 million bail.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

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