Colorado police provide update on search for Jessica Ridgeway - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Body confirmed as belonging to missing Jessica Ridgeway

Posted: Updated:
WESTMINSTER, CO (KCTV) -

Police confirmed Friday afternoon that a dismembered body found earlier this week belongs to 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.

"With a great deal of sorrow in my heart, I regret to inform you that the body that was found in Arvada has been positively identified as Jessica Ridgeway, the girl missing from Westminster," Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said. "The family has been notified. We can't begin to comprehend the grief they are going through."

Jessica was abducted while walking to school a week ago.

"We want to stress that we recognize there is a predator at large in our community," Birk said. "I want the community to know that we are doing everything we can within our power to apprehend that individual."

Officials say the priority has changed from "the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica," and arresting her killer.

"We have eliminated the family. And we are looking for an abductor at this point," FBI spokesman Dave Joly said.

Officials offered condolences to Jessica's family and friends.

"This is not the closure we wanted," said Jessica's great uncle, Larry Moss, who lives in Independence, MO. "We were hanging onto every glimmer of hope. We were hoping that she would make it home safe."

He described himself as relieved to know what happened to Jessica. He and other family members are working to travel to Colorado for her funeral.

The focus now is finding the "sick monster who would do this to a child," Moss said.

"I would give my right leg to have him brought justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is no price on it," Moss said.

Jessica's body was found Wednesday, but the identification of the body was delayed because it was not intact. DNA was used to identify her.

Workers picking up trash in Arvada found Jessica's remains.

Jessica disappeared a week ago today while walking to school. She never made it to school.

The FBI on Thursday released a psychological profile of the kidnapper and asked residents to be mindful of changes in behavior or appearance by those they know. The killer is likely to be a man with local ties. 

"It could be your boss, it could be your friend, and ultimately it could be your family member," Joly said.

The FBI does not believe Jessica's grisly slaying is related to the recent abduction and rape of an 11-year-old girl in Cody, WY. That child was able to escape in part by kicking her abductor's face and bloodying his nose.

"Be vigilant," FBI Agent in Charge Jim Yacone said. "We need the media and the public's continued cooperation."

More than 500 homes and 1,000 vehicles have been searched in the Westminster area.

Many in the Westminster area wore on Friday the color purple or purple ribbons in a show of solidarity for Jessica. Purple is her favorite color.

Jessica lived with her mother. Her father, Jeremy Bryant, lives in Independence, MO, along with his grandmother. A vigil was held in Independence on Wednesday night.

Bryant traveled from Independence to Colorado this week. He made an emotional plea on Wednesday for the safe return of his daughter.

The family did not attend Friday's news conference. Moss said Bryant is devastated.

"I talked to him briefly last night," he said. "He's having a hard time."

Moss reminded children to kick, scream and fight if a stranger approaches them.

While the investigation continues, schools in Westminster are "locking out," which means kids aren't playing outside at recess and parents must show ID to pick up children.

The Ridgeway family will not be making a statement.

"They are devastated and ask that you respect their privacy," the police department said.

The family has created a website http://www.jessicaridgeway.com/ Donations can be made directly to the family on the website, according to police.

Copyright2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

Today's Top Stories

Sidebar: Jessica Ridgeway, father hails from Independence

Updated:

A Colorado girl went missing on Oct. 5. Her father, Jeremy Bryant, lives in Independence. He has traveled to Colorado to assist in the search for her. Independence family hopes for answers after Amber

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • FBI launches excessive force probe of Independence police

    FBI launches excessive force probe of Independence police

    Monday, September 15 2014 8:11 PM EDT2014-09-16 00:11:25 GMT
    The FBI announced Monday afternoon that it has launched an investigation of the Independence Police Department after a teen was left in a coma following an arrest.
    The FBI announced Monday afternoon that it has launched an investigation of the Independence Police Department after a teen was left in a coma following an arrest.
  • Apple releases tool to remove free U2 album

    Apple releases tool to remove free U2 album

    Monday, September 15 2014 7:52 PM EDT2014-09-15 23:52:14 GMT
    Some iPhone users are not happy that U2's new album, "Songs of Innocence," was automatically added to their iTunes music library, free of charge. In response, Apple is releasing a special tool that lets people...
    Some iPhone users are not happy that U2's new album, "Songs of Innocence," was automatically added to their iTunes music library, free of charge. In response, Apple has released a special tool that lets people remove...
  • Notre Dame High School starts new lunch program, opts out of federal

    Notre Dame High School starts new lunch program, opts out of federal

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:05 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:05:42 GMT
    New federal regulations have changed what many kids who attend public schools eat for lunch at school. However, some area private schools don't have to follow those rules and have come up with their own new school lunch program.
    New federal regulations have changed what many kids who attend public schools eat for lunch at school. However, some area private schools don't have to follow those rules and have come up with their own new school lunch program.
Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.