WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – The father of the missing 10-year-old girl from Westminster said the FBI asked him if he thought the girl’s mother could be involved in her daughter’s disappearance.
Jessica Ridgeway’s father, Jeremiah Bryant, said he was approached by the FBI after his daughter went missing and they asked questions about Jessica’s mother, Sarah Ridgeway.
“The FBI, they asked me if I thought she did it. I told them there’s no way that I would ever believe that,” Bryant said. “It’s just the same as she would tell them that I wouldn’t do something like that … I don’t see how any parent could do something like that to their child.”
Bryant lives in Independence, Mo., with his grandmother, Donna Moss. He traveled to Colorado to talk with the media on Tuesday. Other family members at the news conference also indicted that they have also been at least somewhat the focus of the investigation. They said they were questioned if anyone in that family could have harmed Jessica. They all denied any involvement.
An FBI evidence team went to the Ridgeways’ home in Westminster after family members left to record the interview for television, but it wasn’t clear what they might be looking for. Investigators could be seen from Copter4 searching the Ridgeways’ yard and a neighbor’s yard.
A CBS4 photographer witnessed the FBI as they were wrapping up their search after about two hours and said investigators left with some items in bags from the Ridgeway house. The search was done with Sarah Ridgeway’s consent.
Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso said the family has been cooperating with the investigation since the start, as well as residents of the neighborhood.
“Some of those homeowners and those living in that immediate area are going to be contacted multiple times, which is just normal procedure,” Materasso said.
According to Richmond County Court in Independence, there was a civil action filed on behalf of Sarah and Jessica Ridgeway for “non-support” against Jeremiah Bryant this October. The action was filed in Colorado and probably sealed.
The source at the Richmond County Court said the action becomes public record when it was sent to Missouri. Bryant has been ordered to appear in court and show why he is not paying child support. That court date was recently scheduled for some time in February.
Moss said the families have always been on good terms and she saw Jessica about once a year.
“There has never been a custody issue with Jessica, and we’ve had a good relationship all along with” Jessica’s mother, Moss told The Associated Press. “Whenever they go on vacation or whenever we can afford to go to Colorado or he can afford to go to Colorado without me, we get together and it’s not a hostile environment of any kind. No way, shape or form.”
Bryant pleaded guilty in July 2012 to non-support of a different child in July. That was a criminal case.