Community In Fear As Ridgeway Suspect Remains At Large
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – On Saturday crews continued to search the area around Highway 72, Indiana Street, and West 82nd near were remains belonging to Jessica Ridgeway were found last Wednesday.
Members of the Alpine Rescue Team were out combing the fields looking for any evidence that could help find Ridgeway’s killer.
At the site where her remains were found many people came out on Saturday to pay their respects. Some left flowers, balloons and stuffed animals.
A vigil was also once again held at Chelsea Park in Westminster where Ridgeway would meet up with friends and walk to school. The park has been temporarily renamed “Jessica Park.”
Investigators are still asking for the public’s help because they still don’t have a suspect or even a description of what the suspect may look like. Investigators have even gone as far as to ask everybody in the metro area to report any unusual behavior from anyone within the last week. It could be anyone from a boss to a best friend and even a family member.
The investigation has done very little to calm the nerves of people in the Westminster and Arvada communities.
On Saturday more than 1,000 people stood in the driving rain at the American Furniture Warehouse in Westminster wearing purple, Ridgeway’s favorite color. They released hundreds of balloons to remember her.
“It’s the kind of evil that knocks the wind out of you,” a woman said.
Westminster resident Kim Sand brought her 11-year-old daughter to the memorial. She said life has changed for her family since Ridgeway’s murder.
“She can’t play out in the front yard by herself,” Sand said. “It’s a different world we live in since I was growing up.”
“I think anybody who has a heart would be terrified to know that somebody who could harm a little child, or anybody, period, is still out roaming wherever, or could be watching what’s going on,” Westminster resident April Yonan said.
“To even think it could happen to my children; it scares me,” Lakewood resident Jennifer Sherer said.
Parents have endured the unthinkable, trying to explain what happened to Ridgeway to their own children.
“We’re going to hold our children a little bit tighter, and that’s all I guess we can do,” Sherer said.
Westminster police say they are working closely with Jefferson County Schools to ensure the safety of the children when they go back to school on Monday.
The following is known about Jesscia Ridgeway’s disappearance and murder:
- 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. That body was positively identified as Jessica on Oct. 12.
- On October 11 the FBI released a suspect profile from their Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Westminster Police Ridgeway Case Tip Line: (303) 658-4336 or firstname.lastname@example.org