Death of Nelsonville Man Ruled Suicide, But Charges Filed Against Friend Who Gave Gun

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ATHENS, OH – Police in Athens closed a yearlong investigation after determining Kyle Bridgeman, a 30-year-old who left his home to buy a video game and never returned committed suicide.

According to police, Bridgeman, 30, was last seen on June 4, 2021. He reportedly left the house with $80 to allegedly purchase a video game at a private residence. When he did not return, his family reported him missing.

“Over the course of a year, officials worked to investigate Bridgeman’s disappearance. The Athens County Sheriff’s Office and Athens County Prosecutor’s Office conducted numerous interviews, and multiple search warrants. Throughout the investigation, tips received resulted in the search of several areas in and around the Nelsonville area,” the Athens Police Department said. “Bridgeman’s remains were found in a wooded area near his home on Nov. 10, as a result of Paul Joseph Coon Jr. telling law enforcement where his remains were to be found. Bridgeman still had the $80 in his possession.”

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Coon was cleared of being a suspect in a murder, but was charged for giving Bridgeman the gun he used to kill himself.

“According to the findings of the investigation, Coon and Bridgeman 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. After stopping at the top of the hill, Coon handed a gun to Bridgeman and Bridgeman shot himself in the head. 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,” police said. “Woolever, 32, of Rockbridge, was not present during the incident, having left Bridgeman’s home prior with another individual named “Tennessee.” However, she was charged with and 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 years in prison up to eight years in prison.”

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The Athens County Sheriff’s Office and the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office traveled to South Carolina to locate Coon, however, he had left the state a few days prior. Coon was later located in Alabama when deputies and investigators with the prosecutor’s office executed a search warrant.

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.

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