LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)– Murder suspect Austin Sigg was a mortuary science major at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton. His classmates describe him as very smart but also a little strange.
Sigg, 17, was arrested Tuesday night in the abduction and murder of Jessica Ridgeway. He confessed to police and told officers that he took the 10-year-old girl as she was walking to school on Oct. 5 and strangled her in his vehicle.
The mortuary science program at Arapahoe Community College prepares students to become morticians, funeral directors and embalmers.
“Austin’s just a sweet guy, he’s very nice and he’s very smart,” said former classmate Elexus Parmiter.
Others said he was always engaged in class.
“We’re both mortuary science majors so I know he’s really fascinated with that. I know that my professor told me that his next paper we have due is going to be on forensic pathology,” said classmate Lucia Pernia.
Some classmates noticed something a little extreme in Sigg’s fascination with death.
“He was so infatuated with the idea of death. That’s just the feeling I got,” said classmate Hannah Bane.
Sigg attended Witt Elementary, the same school Jessica attended when she was abducted. Sigg was enrolled in Jefferson County Schools from fifth to eleventh grade. After Witt Elementary, he attended Wayne Carle Middle School and Standley Lake High School.
Lucas Goodrich attended school with Sigg since middle school.
“There was always something wrong with him. He was always one of the kids in the class who was really smart, but he would be by himself,” Goodrich said. “He’d talk to himself and just act really awkward around people.”
Sigg attended Warren Tech at the same time as Standley Lake High School. Sigg did not receive a diploma from Jefferson County Schools, however he did complete the GED program and received a certificate.
Standley Lake Students remembered Sigg.
“He dropped out of Standley, he went to Arapahoe Community College for mortuary sciences, and like forensics, sort of,” former Standley Lake classmate Rachael Bradley said. “He attended Warren Tech as well for forensics.”
Many who know Sigg say they are in disbelief.
“You have to know a lot, which is what I don’t understand, because it takes very many years to understand the steps of getting rid of fingerprints and stuff like that,” former Arapahoe Community College classmate Sarah Moravec said.
Arapahoe Community College classmate Hannah Bane described Sigg’s interests as morbid.
“He was so infatuated with the idea of death. That’s just the feeling I got,” Bane said.
Sigg came from a troubled home that included divorce and many run-ins with the police.
Sigg’s father, Robert Sigg, has a long arrest history, including multiple DUIs, assault, domestic violence and drug-dealing arrests.
Robert Sigg has also been involved in numerous civil actions, most recently he was convicted in 2006 for involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme after he was arrested by the FBI.
Sigg’s mother filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May.
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 was found in Arvada on Highway near Pattridge Park Open Space and Highway 93, about seven miles from Ridgeway’s home.
– Police arrested Austin Reed Sigg, 17, at his home in the 10600 block of 102nd Avenue on Oct. 23. According to the police report, Sigg confessed to police and waived his rights when taken into custody.
Westminster Police Ridgeway Case Tip Line: (303) 658-4336 or firstname.lastname@example.org