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FBI Releases Suspect Behavior Profile, Ridgeway Investigation Continues

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WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4)- The FBI has released a suspect behavior profile in assisting Westminster Police in the Jessica Ridgeway investigation.

Ridgeway, 10, has been missing since last Friday morning near 108th Ave. and Moore Street while walking to meet friends as they walked to Witt Elementary School.

“Our Behavioral Analysis Unit wants to convey a message to the community, to the public as a whole. They’re looking for abnormal behavior. Changes in someone’s behavior from Jessica’s disappearance last Friday until today,” said FBI Denver spokesman Dave Joly.

The FBI Denver Division has included resources in the investigation from the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team, CARD, and the Behavioral Analysis Unit 3, BAU.

“It could be something as simple as shaving of their face, could be changing of hair color, cutting their hair, changing their mood, personality. Parking a vehicle in their garage and they’ve always parked it in the driveway,” said Joly.

The BAU recommends that someone in the community will unknowingly be associated with the offender of the crime and may be in a position to observe behavioral changes. They will recognize the changes and may even question the person about it but may not relate the changes to that person’s involvement in the crime.

“Maybe they didn’t show up for work last Friday, called in sick this week and they haven’t called in sick forever. That’s the sort of stuff, very small, very minor changes in someone’s personality or behavior that we would like to know about,” said Joly.

  • Immediately following the incident, he may miss work.  The absence will be sudden and unplanned.  He may either be a “no show” or he may offer a plausible excuse such as illness, death in the family, car trouble, etc.
  • He may miss scheduled appointments/commitments and be unaccounted for during this period.  These appointments/commitments may include such things as medical appointments, meetings with a probation officer, prior commitment to a friend or family member, drug test, etc.
  • He may suddenly leave town, either with no explanation or with some plausible reason.
  • This individual may express an intense interest in the status of this investigation and pay close attention to the media.  However, some offenders may quickly turn off media accounts or try to redirect conversations concerning the victims or their families.
  • There may be changes in the usual consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • He may make a change in his appearance or alter something to prevent identification, such as changing the look of his vehicle, clean or discard his vehicle.

“Maybe they didn’t show up for work last Friday, called in sick this week and they haven’t called in sick forever. That’s the sort of stuff, very small, very minor changes in someone’s personality or behavior that we would like to know about,” said Joly.

The mission of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) is to provide behaviorally-based operational support for complex and time-sensitive cases. Resources are focused on crimes perpetrated against child victims, including abductions, mysterious disappearances of children, homicides, and sexual victimization.

The FBI’s CARD Team consists of regionally based special agents selected for their specialized experience and training in child abduction investigations. This is a national resource that deploys to provide case specific support to FBI Field Offices and local law enforcement.

Ridgeway is 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 on the morning of Oct. 5. 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 analyzed the backpack for DNA evidence and collected evidence from Ridgeway’s home for comparison.

- Searches were taking place around Jessica’s home and her school, as well as in open space areas in Westminster. Another area that underwent an extensive search was Rock Creek and open space areas near there.

- A day after their tearful televised plea for help and thanks to the community, police on Oct. 10 ruled out Ridgeway’s parents as being involved in her disappearance. Police said Ridgeway may have been abducted by an unknown suspect.

- Late in the day on Oct. 11 a body is found in Arvada near Highway 93, about seven miles from Ridgeway’s home.

Westminster Police Ridgeway Case Tip Line: (303) 658-4336 or pdamberalert@cityofwestminster.us

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