Jessica Ridgeway’s Mom: ‘I Knew Something Was Wrong’
Westminster Police Ridgeway Case Tip Line: (303) 658-4336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – The mother and father of missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway addressed the media Tuesday afternoon.
Jessica’s mother Sarah Ridgeway said the last time she saw her was when she was walking out the door for school on Friday.
“I knew when they called and said she hadn’t come to school; I knew something was wrong,” she said.
Sarah Ridgeway said her daughter is the light of her life and is a very mature 10-year-old.
“She does everything on her own because she wants to make herself look like she’s a grownup,” Sarah Ridgeway said. “She wants to be a teenager before she’s a teenager.”
Sarah Ridgeway said she had planned to talk about Jessica’s disappearance on Sunday but then her daughter’s backpack and water bottle were found in neighboring Superior.
“We knew (Jessica’s father) was coming into town this morning, so we wanted to wait for (him) to get here. He’s part of our extended family,” she said.
Jessica’s father, Jeremiah Bryant, lives in Independence, Mo. He arrived in Colorado on Tuesday and also spoke at the news conference.
“This is by far the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” Bryant said. “I don’t know what to do. I just want to find my daughter; I just want her back home.”
Westminster Police on Tuesday released a short video showing Jessica Ridgeway, the 10-year-old girl who has been missing since last Friday.
The video shows Ridgeway with her dog before her disappearance. She asks the animal “Want to be on camera?” Police are hoping that the video will help people get an even clearer sense about how she looks. They shared a statement along with the video’s release:
“We are providing new … video of Jessica to show some unique characteristics. Jessica has a noticeable gap between her two front upper teeth. She also has a sore on the bridge of her nose, just below here glasses that does not heal.”
Police also released new images of Ridgeway on Tuesday, including the above image.
“We want everybody out there to know who Jessica is; that she’s that bright, funny girl,” Sarah Ridgeway said. “I want everybody else to know how helpful and loving and caring she is.”
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. It’s unknown so far at what point the backpack wound up there.
- The CBI is analyzing the backpack for DNA evidence and is collecting evidence from Ridgeway’s home for comparison.
- Searches have taken place around Jessica’s home and her school, as well as in open space areas in Westminster. Another area that has undergone an extensive search is Rock Creek and open space areas near there.
A dozen different police agencies are helping Westminster police in their search for Ridgeway.
Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso said Monday 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.
Bryant said the FBI asked him if he thought Sarah Ridgeway could some way be involved in her daughter’s disappearance.
“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.”
According to The Associated Press, an FBI evidence team went to the Ridgeways’ home after family members left to record the interview but it wasn’t clear what they might be looking for.
Materasso said the family has been cooperating with the investigation since the start.