Westminster Police: Remains found in park are those of missing girl Jessica Ridgeway
5:06 PM, Oct 12, 2012
10:14 AM, Oct 13, 2012
DENVER - The body found in Arvada on Wednesday is that of missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, Westminster police confirmed Friday.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation utilized DNA testing to identify the body.
Wearing purple ribbons, Jessica's favorite color, the leaders of the various law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation gathered outside the Westminster Police Department to make the grim announcement.
"The mission has changed from a search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica," Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said.
"The commitment will not waiver, and our commitment and resolve to get justice for Jessica," said Jim Yacone of the FBI.
Ridgeway disappeared one week ago in Westminster. Her mother told police that Jessica left home to walk to school with friends, but the school said she never arrived. Ridgeway's father and great-grandmother are residents of Independence, Mo.
The open space park is about 6 miles from the neighborhood where Jessica disappeared.
We recognize "there's a predator at large in our community," Birk said.
"The most important thing we can do now is the investigation, the apprehension and the prosecution of the person who did this," said Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Story.
To date, the investigation has received more than 1,500 tips and 800 leads Yacone said. He said teams will continue to follow those leads.
Thursday, the FBI released a general psychological profile of the man who took Jessica Ridgeway in hopes it would help the public look for possible suspects.
Materasso reiterated Friday that the community could help to solve the case.
"We need to engage that community and we need to recognize the role they play," he said.
FBI spokesman Dave Joly said the suspect could "be your boss, your friend" or a family member.
The FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit said that often, someone in the community will unknowingly be associated with the offender of the crime, and may be in a position to observe behavioral changes in that person.
They will recognize the changes, and may even question the person about it, but may not relate the changes to that person's involvement in the crime.
Ridgeway's dad and great-grandmother traveled to Colorado this week. Friends and family held a vigil in Independence on Wednesday.
On Friday, Jessica's great-aunt Kathy Moss told 41 Action News the family was devastated by the news.
"I wish he, she -- whoever did do this, could feel every single pain that he'd done to her," she said, "and it could be done to them. I hope they hurry up and catch him, and justice be done immediately."