The ex-boyfriend of Kiera Bergman appeared before a judge late Tuesday night as he was formally charged with first-degree murder in her death.
Jon Clark makes his initial appearance on new charges, including first-degree murder premeditated, in the death of Kiera Bergman. He only answered basic questions like name and date of birth. Bond is set at $1M. pic.twitter.com/KePVazQVyu
— Danielle Lerner (@DanielleLerner) September 12, 2018
Phoenix police on Tuesday morning confirmed that investigators have developed enough evidence to recommend charges against Jon Christopher Clark for Bergman's murder.
In court documents released Wednesday morning, police said a combination of witness accounts and an extensive search of both Bergman and Clark's internet activity helped identify Clark as a suspect in the 19-year-old's death.
Clark was previously arrested after detectives found evidence of identity theft and forgery while searching his car as part of the investigation into Bergman's disappearance.
"I would hate to have to see other parents go through this. It's the worst feeling in the world," said Kiersten Bragg, Bergman's mother.
Police also recommended prosecutors charge Clark with improper removal of a body and evidence tampering.
Officials announced earlier this month that a body found on Sept. 3 near SR-85 and Hazen Road was Bergman. According to court paperwork, there were no obvious signs of a cause of death.
News of the charges against Clark did not come as a surprise to Bergman's parents.
"We believed from the beginning he was involved, but without any information we didn't want to put him out there as a bad person without knowing some facts," her father, Chris Bragg, said.
"I was relieved and in a way I'm happy," said Kiersten Bragg. "I pray that the situation opens up a lot of especially young women's eyes to the dangers that are out there and that you think twice before you get involved with certain people."
Court documents confirmed that Bergman and Clark had a history of domestic disputes, and multiple people who lived at the couple's Phoenix apartment complex had witnessed the pair getting into verbal altercations.
Bergman was last seen at her apartment near 51st Avenue and Thunderbird on August 4. Her disappearance gained national attention as friends, family and neighbors searched for weeks.
A judge set Clark's bond at $1 million. His next scheduled court date is September 18.