Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jessica Ridgeway Missing

Jessica Ridgeway Missing, Investigators collected DNA evidence Monday from the home of missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway — potentially important evidence as they carefully examined the girl's backpack. The search for Jessica stretched through a third full day Monday — this time in an area northwest of her home surrounding the neighborhood where her backpack and water bottle were discovered.

Representatives of 12 agencies — roughly 125 people — searched in a triangular area bounded by U.S. 36, Colorado 93 and Colorado 128, said Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso.
Materasso said Jessica's backpack, discovered Sunday outside of a house in Superior, was an important piece of evidence.

Work was underway to collect DNA from family members to compare it with evidence collected from the backpack. Jessica's grandmother said Monday she dreads a time when police would use a DNA sample. "God, I hope we don't have to (use) that," said Christine Ridgeway.

Materasso on Monday asked volunteers to spread a new flier showing photographs of Jessica without her glasses and wearing different clothes from those she was wearing in an earlier picture. He said he wants the public to focus on Jessica's facial features, not necessarily the clothes she was wearing Friday. "Remember what she looks like," he said.

Family mulls statement

Jessica's mother, a night-shift worker, told police she last saw her daughter walking toward school Friday morning. She reported the girl missing later in the afternoon when she woke to find a phone message saying Jessica hadn't arrived at Witt Elementary School, about a mile away at 10255 W. 104th Drive in Westminster.

On Monday, Jessica's grandmother said the family is close and rallying around Jessica's mother, Sarah Ridgeway. Family members have been talking about putting out a statement and may do so later, Christine Ridgeway said. "We are doing a family conference right now, getting our ducks in a row," she said. "We are not letting Sarah decide on this by herself."
Jessica's disappearance has sparked a massive search.

What may have been the biggest break to date came Sunday when the backpack was found on the sidewalk at Andrew Drive and Alpha Court in Superior. Investigators were working to pin down how long it had been there and were hoping that someone saw something.

"Kids may have gone by," he said. "We want parents to talk to their kids about it. "A man who found the backpack posted a message on the Superior e-mail list server that he had found the bag and a water bottle with Jessica's name on it.

One of the men who found the backpack, who wished to remain anonymous because of the ongoing investigation, said he and his wife did not notice the bag when they left their house on Andrew Drive near Alpha Court around 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

When they returned sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. Sunday, they said the backpack was there. The man said kids sometimes left bikes and bags in the area, so he figured he would check on it in the morning.

"It was out of place so that we noted it, but not out of place enough that we got out and took a look at it," he said. The next morning, he and a neighbor checked on the bag after nobody had claimed it overnight. He said the bag had a keychain with the name "Jessica" on it, as well as a water bottle with her name.

Neither he nor his neighbor recognized the name, so his neighbor simply sent an e-mail to the town's Listserv shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday with a message bearing the subject line "Children's Back Pack Found." The message 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."
Someone then replied to the e-mail pointing out the backpack's significance, and the e-mailer called 911 to report it.
Title: Jessica Ridgeway Missing
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