New Search Area Set Up In Missing Jessica Ridgeway Case
Westminster Police Ridgeway Case Tip Line: (303) 658-4336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPERIOR, Colo. (CBS4) – About 125 people from a dozen different police agencies are helping Westminster police in their search in a new area for Jessica Ridgeway, who has been missing since Friday morning.
Searches are still taking place around the 10-year-old’s home in Westminster on Monday, but the major new search area will focus specifically on southeastern Boulder County, where there was a br eak in the case over the weekend. Ridgeway’s backpack and water bottle were found on the sidewalk in a Superior neighborhood.
The new search zone focuses on Superior and areas to the west and roughly forms a triangle — from Highway 128 to Highway 93, including Eldorado Canyon, and then back along Highway 36.
One search member was spotted collecting evidence in a field. It’s not clear what that evidence was.
The Denver police helicopter was out once again looking from the air on Monday and police even used a special remote controlled helicopter to help in the search.
Officers had boats in a retaining pond near Great Western Reservoir around 108th Avenue and Simms Monday evening.
Parents who were walking their children to school in Chelsea Park were questioned carefully by investigators.
“They just wanted to know if my kids had seen anything,” parent Lisa Kempton said. “Or if there were any houses around and things like that, that they would be worried about. They didn’t have anything to share about that.”
Ridgeway is now listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children list. The following is known about her disappearance:
– Jessica Ridgeway, 10, disappeared on her way to school Friday morning. After leaving home on foot, she never met up with friends she normally walks to school with at Chelsea Park. The park is about three blocks from her home and about a mile from the school.
– When she didn’t arrive at Witt Elementary School in Westminster, Jefferson County Schools officials tried to contact her mother. They made a call at 10 a.m. but were only able to leave a voicemail. Ridgeway’s mother, who works an overnight shift and sleeps during the day, didn’t get the message until 4:30 p.m. and immediately contacted Westminster police.
– It took about five hours before the protocols were met in the case for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to call an Amber Alert.
– Ridgeway’s backpack was found on the sidewalk near Alpha Court and Andrew Drive in the Rock Creek neighborhood in Superior. That’s 6.4 miles away from her home.
– The CBI is analyzing the backpack for DNA evidence and is collecting evidence from Ridgeway’s home for comparison.
Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso said Monday morning that the new search effort doesn’t involve volunteers like the massive search on Saturday did. Instead, they would like anyone who is willing to come by their headquarters to pick up flyers showing Ridgeway’s photo.
The hope is that via the flyers people distribute several different images of Ridgeway will be very visible in the community.
Materasso said they are no longer asking people to think too carefully about the clothes Ridgeway was wearing when she left for school on Friday because it’s likely she’s not wearing those anymore.
“We’re asking people to really focus on Jessica and her facial features,” Materasso said. “If you see a flyer, really look at Jessica and burn that image so you remember what she looks like. That way if you see her and she has different clothing on you’re not focused on the clothing.”
Parents walking their children to Witt School from Chelsea Park were questioned carefully on Monday by police.
“They just wanted to know if our kids had seen anything or if they had anything to share about houses in the area that might be a concern and they didn’t really have anything to share about that,” parent Lisa Kempton said.
Ridgeway’s family hasn’t spoken publicly about the case so far. The girl lives with her mother and her father lives in Independence, Mo. Police have contacted Jeremiah Bryant and do not believe she is with him.
CBS4 investigators learned Bryant works at a Mexican restaurant in nearby Kansas City and sees his daughter about once a year. Bryant’s mother says the most recent visit was about six weeks ago. He hopes to leave Missouri and to come to Colorado on Tuesday.
Police officers were stationed at Ridgeway’s home on Monday. Steve Kessel, a neighbor, told CBS4 he visited the home over the weekend.
“I went by there yesterday and it took a while for them to answer the door but one of her children came out, and I just gave my sadness for her and I let her know that I’m doing my part as far as searching. Today I was handing out a bunch of flyers for her,” Kessel said. “And they said they appreciated it.”
On Sunday police shut down the neighborhood where the backpack was found in Superior for most of the day. Authorities went home by home and interviewed residents about it as well as stopped drivers at roadblocks. They said they want all area residents to talk to their children about the backpack and to find out if they know any more about how the objects got there.
Materasso stressed that point Monday morning in a news briefing.
“Obviously over the weekend kids are out of school. There is the chance that kids may have gone by (and seen the backpack) while playing or riding bikes. We want parents to talk to their children about it. They are probably aware that a girl from an elementary school is missing. We don’t want kids to feel like they did anything wrong and ask and urge parents to talk to your children. If you think that they have information that’s beneficial to this investigation we ask that you call us,” Materasso said.
Materasso said he hopes anyone with information about Ridgeway’s disappearance that might help them, no matter how inconsequential it might seem, to contact police right away.