Search for Jessica Ridgeway fails to turn up any trace of 10-year-old girl

Hundreds search for missing girl in Westminster

WESTMINSTER, Colo. - A massive search in Westminster Saturday failed to turn up any sign of a missing 10-year-old girl who disappeared while walking to school Friday.

Police said Jessica Ridgeway was last seen walking to Chelsea Park in the area of 107th Avenue and Moore Street around 8:30 a.m. Friday where she was to meet several friends before walking to Witt Elementary School. Jessica's mother stood in the front yard of their home at 10768 Moore St. until her daughter was out of sight.

Jessica never showed up at school.  The school left a voicemail on Jessica's mother's phone. The mother works nights and was asleep when the call came. Police said they were notified Jessica was missing by her mom around 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Saturday, volunteers and police searched nearby open spaces looking for clues.

Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso said about 800 people volunteered to help look for Jessica on Saturday.

"This morning I really expected maybe a hundred people, so to have that many, it was just amazing. And they just went -- they did what we needed them to. They were so devoted to being out here," Materasso said.  "I watched one gentlemen putting plastic bags on his feet because his feet were soaked through, his shoes were soaked through and he was going back out again."

Buses of volunteers were sent to open spaces in Mayfair, Countryside, Ketner and Chelsea as well as the Westminster Hills Dog Park and Standley Lake.

"It was really emotional because you're looking in ditches and you're looking in culverts and you're looking through sewer drainage pipes.  On the one hand again, you're hoping you might find a boot with a pom pom and on the other hand, you're hoping you don't," said volunteer Marsha Orr.  "My 7-year old son is such an amazing gift to me. To not know where he was spending a cold night, it would rip my heart out."

A dive team searched  Ketner Reservoir Saturday afternoon. The search was "done as a search tool to rule out the lake," police said.

The search area covered on Saturday was from 92nd Avenue to 112th Avenue and from  Indiana Street to Wadsworth Boulevard. 

"We are not utilizing any volunteers on Sunday morning, as we are bringing in a new team of search dogs," Materasso said.  

He said police will follow up on more than 100 tips.

Authorities have said they don't think Jessica was abducted by an acquaintance or relative.  The girl's father lives in Missouri and has been accounted for there. 

Jessica's great-grandmother, Donna Moss, said police were at her home where the father was staying Friday night.  They asked to search the home and were given permission, she said.

"We'd do anything to get her back, safely alive," Moss said. "We want her back as soon as we can get her."

Westminster police also said they don't think Jessica ran away because she is emotionally stable.

Members of the FBI as well as the Center for Missing and Exploited Children have joined the search.

Search dogs used overnight on Friday picked up a scent but police said it could have been from earlier than Friday.

Police investigators and volunteers collected socks and other clothing items around Chelsea Park on Saturday, police spokesman Trevor Materasso said. The socks were placed in evidence bags to be checked further.

"We can't say at this point whether these are or are not related," Materasso said.

Police also checked every registered sex offender in the area. 

Jessica is 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 80 pounds.  She has blonde, shoulder-length hair with blue eyes.  She was last seen wearing blue jeans, black boots with pom poms, a black puffy jacket and pink and purple glasses.  She also had a black and pink backpack with a Disney character on it.

Temperatures Saturday hovered around the mid-30s and were expected to dip into the mid-20s overnight.

Anyone with information on the possible whereabouts of Jessica is asked to call Westminster police at 303-658-4360.

 


 

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