Westminster, CO – Twelve different Colorado agencies have expanded their search for 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway after the missing girl’s backpack was found six miles from her home.
Jessica was last seen Friday morning after leaving her home to walk three blocks to Chelsea Park where she was to meet with friends and then walk to Witt Elementary School. When Jessica never made it to the park, her classmates continued on without her. By 10 that morning, police called her home but her mother, who worked nights, was sleeping. It wasn’t until she woke up eight hours later that she called police after hearing the message informing her Jessica was not at school.
Around 1 a.m. Sunday a man and his wife returned to their home in a neighborhood over six miles away and noticed a backpack on the sidewalk that wasn’t there when they left earlier. It stuck out, but because kids leave items around the neighborhood occasionally, it wasn’t so out of place that they went to investigate. When it was still there the next day, the man and a neighbor looked inside the backpack and found a set of keys and a water bottles with “Jessica Ridgeway” written on them.
The neighbor then posted an email to the town’s listserv with a message that read: “Found this morning on the side walk at Andrew Drive and Alpha Court. Water bottle has ‘Jessica Ridgeway’ name on it. Come and get it.” After someone informed him that Jessica was missing, he called 911. In response, police moved their search from Jessica’s neighborhood in Westminster to open areas in Superior.
The only odd thing I noticed from reading some of the news articles was Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso stating the public wasn’t in any danger and that he did not believe someone was running around snatching up kids. He also said officials feel Jessica had changed clothes and for people searching for her to pay attention to her facial features, not what she was wearing last.
Police say that Jessica’s father lives out of state and is in a custody battle with Jessica’s mother. They say they do not believe Jessica is with her father, but Materasso added that they will be looking at every possible angle, multiple times. Jessica is described as a blonde, blue-eyed girl standing 4’10″ tall and weighing 80-pounds. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, black boots with pom poms, a black puffy jacket and pink and blue glasses.