Homicide investigators in Phoenix have charged the boyfriend of a 19-year-old El Cajon woman whose body was found in the Arizona desert, weeks after she was reported missing.
Kiera Bergman, 19, was found dead on September 3 by a bike rider who spotted her remains near State Route 85 and Hazen Road in Maricopa County, about 45 minutes away from her apartment.
Eight days later, homicide investigators announced that they have developed probable cause to recommend charges of first-degree murder against Bergman's boyfriend Jon Christopher Clark.
Bergman was last seen alive on Aug. 4 leaving her home without her money, purse or car. Bergman sent a text message to her roommate at about 12:45 p.m. that day. It was the last time friends or family had heard from her.
Her family said she moved to the Phoenix area Homicide investigators had suspected foul play in Bergman's disappearance.
During a news conference Tuesday just a few hours after Phoenix police announced the charges against Clark, Bergman's parents said they had been wary of Clark since they first met him and had a gut feeling he was involved in her disappearance.
“I didn’t like him from the beginning. He couldn’t shake my hand and wouldn’t look me in the eye. So I knew then that this wasn’t the person I wanted my daughter with," Bergman's father Chriss Bragg said.
Kiersten Bragg, Bergman's mother, said she knew from the first few times she met Clark that he "wasn't a good person."
They both said they thought he was involved in her death but said it wouldn't have been right to accuse him before Tuesday without knowing any facts.
Bergman's parents described Clark as controlling, saying he'd often answer questions directed at Bergman and not allow her to speak.
The Braggs said Bergman had recently pleaded for her family to give Clark "a second chance," saying that he was trying to change and that she wanted them to "hear his side of things."
Kiersten said she had never seen any instances of physical violence between her daughter and Clark, but recalled a time when the family was out for dinner and they argued about what they were going to order before settling on Clark's choice.
The Braggs said investigators did not tell them what evidence they had to develop probable cause against Clark, and said they were not told of a motive or their daughter's manner of death.
Bergman, who was raised in the unincorporated area of El Cajon, had relocated to Phoenix, following Clark, about four months ago, her family said.
Her mother said she had just turned 19 over the summer. Bergman and Clark met on the dating app Tinder in November 2017, she said.
“I pray that this situation opens up a lot of, especially young women’s eyes to the dangers that are out there and that you should think twice before you get involved with certain people," Kiersten Bragg said.