ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Arvada on Sunday set up a command post near where the body of Jessica Ridgeway was found. They also met with residents; many still shaken by the gruesome crime and the thought that the child’s killer is still at large.
Ridgeway disappeared in Westminster on Oct. 5. Her body was found in the Pattridge Open Space in Arvada five days later.
The FBI has joined local, state and federal authorities in the search for the 10-year-old’s abductor and killer, and they are asking for the community’s help.
“We want you to look for changes in habits, patterns, peculiar absences of those around you, and report it to law enforcement,” said Jim Yacone, FBI Special Agent In Charge. “It is in an effort to identify behavior changes exhibited by a person responsible for this heinous crime.”
On Sunday anybody who stopped by the trailhead to Pattridge Park were reassured by police about their presence in the community and to help them feel safe again.
“People, as you can imagine, are scared and have a lot of questions. So we came out here to explain some of the resources that we have available to them in Arvada to answer their questions and to let them know that this is still a beautiful part of our city,” Arvada police spokeswoman Jill McGranahan said.
Police were also reminding people that whether at home our out in the community to continue to look for anyone or anything that is suspicious because the search for evidence is far from over.
“If you see something that is suspicious, our recommendation is to just leave it and call us,” McGranahan said. “This person is still out there and you never know what’s going to be the piece that helps us to find him.”
People were still coming to the memorial in the open space all weekend. Many brought their children to help them understand the ramifications of the tragedy.
“I don’t know why somebody would do such a terrible thing to someone,” a young girl at the memorial said.
“We’re making sure that our kids are never anywhere by themselves,” a father said.
“Our kids used to be able to ride their bikes in the neighborhood. We’d let them walk to the school bus together by themselves, and we don’t feel like we can do that anymore,” a mother said.
“It’s sad that someone would do such a horrible thing to a child,” a young boy said.
Until a suspect is found the unsettling feeling in community is expected to persist.
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