Missing Colorado girl's body ID'd
WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A body found in a suburban Denver park was identified on Friday as that of a missing 10-year-old girl, as anxious parents kept close watch over their children because of a potential predator in their midst, authorities said.
“Our focus has changed from the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica,” Westminster police Chief Lee Birk said. “We realize there is a predator at large in our community.”
The body of Jessica Ridgeway was found Wednesday about 7 miles southwest of her home. Authorities said it was not intact, but they did not explain further.
Jessica began a short walk from her home to Witt Elementary School on the morning of Oct. 5 but never arrived. A huge search by hundreds of law enforcement officers did not start until hours later because Jessica's mother works nights and slept through a call from school officials saying the girl was not there.
The FBI has warned residents that she may have been abducted by someone they know and asking them to be alert for people they know who might have suddenly changed their appearance or uncharacteristically missed work or appointments.
“It could be your boss, it could be your friend, and ultimately it could be your family member,” FBI spokesman Dave Joly said. “We suspect someone in the community knows this individual.”
Signs of the tragedy have been everywhere in Jessica's neighborhood of two-story, modest homes with single-car garages.
During the past week, officers have searched homes and yards. They kept guard at crosswalks and photographed cars entering the neighborhood. Mailboxes and trees were encircled by ribbons in Jessica's favorite color, purple.
“I don't feel safe for my daughter anymore, anywhere,” said Stacey Oppie, who lives in the neighborhood.
Two months ago, Oppie started letting her daughter play unsupervised with a friend at the park that Jessica customarily passed on her way to school. She doesn't intend to do that anymore.
“We're all a little bit on alert, but it's not fear. We're angry because this is a good neighborhood,” Oppie said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.