GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) – An 18-year-old accused of kidnapping and killing a suburban Denver school girl kept some of the girl’s remains in a crawl space at a home he shared with his mother, a detective testified said Friday.
The teenager, Austin Sigg, had been on investigators’ radar before his mother turned him in. A neighbor called a tip line suggesting they check him out because he seemed preoccupied with death, Westminster police detective Luis Lopez said.
Two FBI agents responded and took a DNA sample from Sigg on Oct. 19, four days before his mother called to say he confessed to killing the girl, Jessica Ridgeway. Sigg’s mother also told authorities of the human remains.
Lopez said Sigg’s DNA — the kind left behind by touching something —was found on Jessica’s remains and clothing, but no semen was found.
Sigg is charged with murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, and robbery. Prosecutors have also added three counts of sexual exploitation of a child because of child pornography allegedly found during the investigation.
He’s also accused of attacking a jogger five months before Jessica disappeared.
Prosecutors are laying out their case during the hearing to try to convince a judge that there’s enough evidence for Sigg to stand trial.
The judge originally ordered the hearing to be closed to the public but the Colorado Supreme Court sided with media organizations who argued that he failed to show that holding the hearing in public would jeopardize Sigg’s right to a fair trial.
Jessica’s disappeared while walking to school on Oct. 5. Some of her remains were found in garbage bags in an open space park five days later. Friday was the first time investigators revealed that the bags contained her torso. Lopez said she died of asphyxiation.
The case set parents in the Denver area on edge as weeks passed without an arrest. Hundreds of officers canvassed the area and investigated leads and took DNA samples as parents waited with their children at bus stops and thought twice about letting them out of sight.
Police asked residents to be on the lookout for anything suspicious from their bosses, friends and family members, watching for things like leaving home unexpectedly, missing appointments or changing their appearance.
Lopez said Sigg’s mother turned her son in on Oct. 23, a day before testing was completed on the DNA sample taken based on the neighbor’s tip.
Former classmates of Sigg described him as smart and interested in mortuary science.
By P. Solomon Banda, AP Writer (© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)