Police: 10-year-old Colorado girl missing for week is dead

(CNN) — A 10-year-old Colorado girl reported missing one week ago is dead, police said Friday, spurring a manhunt for the person who killed her.

Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk told reporters that a body found earlier this week “has been positively identified” as that of Jessica Ridgeway.

“Our focus has changed from a search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica,” Birk said.

Jessica was last seen by her mother as she left for school October 5. Authorities then issued a statewide Amber Alert for the girl.

On Sunday, a man in a subdivision in Superior discovered Jessica’s backpack outside his house about 7 miles from the girl’s hometown of Westminster, said Westminster Police Investigator Trevor Materasso. Both towns are along the Denver-Boulder Turnpike.

A body — which was “not intact,” according to police — was found Wednesday at a park in Arvada, a Denver suburb just five miles from Westminster. The body was identified Friday as that of Jessica.

With that news, Birk acknowledged that authorities “recognize that there is a predator at large in our community.”

“We are doing everything within our power to apprehend that individual,” he said.

Hundreds of volunteers had searched fields and streets, posted fliers and canvassed neighborhoods since news broke of the girl’s disappearance. Hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement officers have also been working the case, according to Birk.

As of Friday, authorities had searched more than 500 homes and 1,000 vehicles, responded to more than 1,500 tips and “covered thoroughly more than 800 leads,” said Jim Yacone, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Denver office.

“Open space and water searches by both law enforcement, the Westminster Fire Department and many hundreds of volunteers have been extensive, and they will continue,” Yacone told reporters Friday


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39 Comments for “Police: 10-year-old Colorado girl missing for week is dead”

  1. 2loyalty

    This beautiful child and her loved ones will never rest in peace until the monster who took her life and desecrated her remains is caught and justice served. So very, very sad.

    My prayers go out to them and to LE investigators, godpseed.

  2. Sal

    Too sad, breaks my heart to hear about this valuable child, Jessica Rideway, destroyed by someone of no value on the face of the earth.

    RIP, sweet Jessica.

    :sob: Sal

  3. Very sad and it just keeps happening. What in the world can we all do about it?

  4. Sal

    I guess warning the children about the inadvisability of talking to strangers is considered old fashioned these days?

    As I child, I was warned, I warned my children, I hope my grandchildren were warned and now my great grandchildren. No child, or even adult, should consider themselves safe from “the bad guys”


  5. ♥♪ shoozeyque♪♥

    Hi guys – There are a lot of organizations out there that you can enroll your children in to teach them as well as ourselves about stranger danger.

    But it’s not only strangers to be ware of. It can be somebody close to home as well.

    If I were young again with my three children, I would most definitely look into one of these organizations in my area and sign them up.

    In today’s frightening world, this is more important than ever before, that we educate ourselves and our children should we ever be faced with something as horrible and heinous as this.


    This site even has a child safety kit you can order for free.



    I’m going to send this info to my adult children for their children. I worry about them so.

    This is so sad about this girl. It’s never ending. This sickness is so pervasive in our society. We all worry about the children in our families and you cannot turn your back for one single second, because in that one split second, your worst nightmare can come true.

  6. Sal

    ♥♪ shoozeyque♪♥
    October 15, 2012 – 12:44 pm
    But it’s not only strangers to be ware of. It can be somebody close to home as well.
    Absolutely right, shoozeyque ♪♥
    Thank you for that link:


    Yes, it is important to explain better to a child than, NO, DON’T.

    I had a friend that had worked with children and she said you don’t tell a child “stopping running” around the swimming pool. You say “WALK” Amazingly, it works better. Don’t tell them what NOT to do, tell them what TO DO.
    Smile Sal

  7. dee

    “Family Safety…take this safety quiz and have your kids take their own age appropriate TGS Safety Quiz to test and measure how much all the members of your family really know about Family Safety.”

  8. ♥♪ shoozeyque♪♥


    I’ve always found at least with my children, reasoning with them and explaining to them the why’s and why not’s, the do’s and do not’s – that always goes a long way, rather than to challenge them and say you can’t do this or you can’t do that. Why? Because I said so – that answer does not work. You just til your father gets home. In my day, that threat put the fear of God in me. Today, they just laugh in your face.

    Yelling and screaming until you’re blue in the face never works. My mother was a screamer and a yeller. I vowed never to be like that.

    After having three children, I learned, and as we all eventually do, the psychology of children and what works and what doesn’t. We learn how they play us like a fiddle.

    Sorry, I went off on a tangent a little bit.

    And children seem to listen to other parents rather than their own for some reason.

    I don’t know if schools offer any such programs as these for the children. I would think they would see the urgency in making it available as a necessary teaching tool for the youngsters.

  9. ♥♪ shoozeyque♪♥

    Thanks for the link Dee.

  10. Too sad for words.My heart goes out to this family.

  11. Barbara Jo in Texas

    I read that this guy who was trying to pick up children in Wyoming and was captured, was using a gun to frighten them enough to get them into his car. The last I heard, they are seeing if they can connect him to Jessica’s murder.

  12. dee

    Barbara Jo in Texas
    October 15, 2012 – 3:36 pm
    kookooznest has some very interesting links in the Chat Room regarding the Wyoming case

  13. Denise

    I am not pointing fingers or casting aspersions upon anyone but I have to wonder. . . when are we going to get it?

    Children are no longer safe if they are out of our sight, trust is no longer a virtue it is an invitation to disaster!

    This is a very sad and troubling time we are living in but we must become vigilant in protecting our children! Why does it take a horrible tragedy such as Jessica to stir some fear into parents regarding the safety of their children?

    I understand we are busy, both parents work, time is a luxury, however, one second is all it takes for your child, my child or any one’s child to be snatched and taken forever.

    Parents must plan together, take turns supervising bus stops or walks to school. Not just for a few months following a tragedy, forever. . . prevention, lack of opportunity for these filthy predators is our only defense!

  14. kookooznest

    dee 4:01 –
    TQ !

  15. kookooznest

    This widespread fear of impending doom, just for one weakling, deeply flawed, bully who picks on 10 yr olds half their size or more, since he can’t handle women his age, who is/was a bedwetter, who mutilates cats & other small animals, sets a multitude of small fires/arson, then who is called ‘brilliant’ or ‘cunning’ for simply following his disease compulsions is what eats at me about it. This is why Ted Bundy gets grudging respect – he didn’t pick on obviously easily controlled little kids, he picked on full grown women (& when he didn’t it was b/c he was desperate in his crisis).
    To me, this suspect is a cowardly bully with an IQ about 10 points lower than his age. He’s like a Casey Anthony .. just as dumb as a box of rocks (think about it!). His compulsions drive him, & like a nitwit he keeps repeating the same thing w/the same type, feeding his compulsions, until he’s dead or caught.

    What was really eye-opening was to hear Shasta Groehne’s response to NG last night when she asked “has your experience made it difficult for you feel safe” (or something along that line). Shasta replied, “there’s no place that’s “safe”, b/c bad things can happen anywhere.”

    So if I’m hearing Shasta right, as long as ppl are supervising their kids (like they should), that’s deterrent enough & I have to say I agree. Why be fearful if you’re with your kids, like you should be anyway, & the suspect is known to only be able to bully 10 yr olds not real, developed, women b/c he can’t handle women only little kids more than half his size. You can only do what you can do.

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