WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Police have announced what they say could be a pivotal piece of evidence in Jessica Ridgeway’s murder.
Investigators have been seeking justice for Ridgeway for exactly two weeks now. The case began when the 10-year-old vanished on her way to Witt Elementary School in Westminster. Her remains were found last week in an open space in Arvada.
Police now think a wooden cross they discovered could lead them to Ridgeway’s killer. They’re considering it an important piece of evidence at this time. It’s about 1 1/2 inches tall and 1 inch wide and made entirely out of wood. There’s a hold drilled in the upper part of the cross making it look like it was worn as a necklace. On the horizontal part there are three vertical bars and zig-zags on the opposite side.
Investigators are looking for someone who might wear or carry that type of cross or a business that sells them. Police are not saying exactly when or where the cross was found, just that it was found at a crime scene.
Police also believe there might be a connection between the Ridgeway murder and an attempted abduction at Ketner Lake. On Friday officers were going door to door around the area. On May 28 a 22-year-old woman reported that a man tried to grab her and cover her nose and mouth with a rag that smelled like chemicals. She was able to escape and call 911. Police are trying to determine if that incident is related to what happened to Ridgeway.
With the new photos of the cross they could be getting close to identifying Ridgeway’s killer with help from the public.
VIDEO: Police Announce Key Evidence
“Looking at it, again, it’s unique, and we feel or believe that it may have been dropped or left behind by the killer,” Trevor Materasso with Westminster police said. “Because of the unique characteristics of it, on both sides having different etching into it, we want the public to look at that believing somebody may end up calling with a tip, providing additional information.”
The suspect in the attempted abduction at Ketner Lake is described as a light-skinned man, 18 to 30 years old, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 with brown hair. The person was wearing a Navy baseball hat, small rim sunglasses, and a black t-shirt and jeans during the May 28 attempted abduction. Anyone who knows somebody that matches that description or owed a cross similar to the one found is asked to call Westminster police.
Westminster Police Ridgeway Case Tip Line: (303) 658-4336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Ridgeway Murder Timeline
– 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 Ridgeway’s body is found in Arvada on Highway near Pattridge Park Open Space and Highway 93, about seven miles from Ridgeway’s home.