Park dedicated and renamed as Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park
Last Updated: 65 days ago
WESTMINSTER, Colo. - A year after a 10-year-old Westminster girl was abducted on her way to school and killed, a park where she used to play has been formally dedicated to her memory.
A ceremony was held Saturday at the newly named Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park.
"This case profoundly impacted everyone who was involved in it. I think most of us actually began to feel as if Jessica was our own daughter, it touched us that deeply," said Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk.
A year later her story still impacts her community. Many of the 300-plus people who showed up for the ceremony didn't even know Ridgeway.
"Her story has touched my heart. I came from a little community in South Dakota. You only see stuff like this on the TV, she absolutely made it real to me," said Lynel Jordan of Golden.
The remodeled park bears little resemblance of the place that stole their innocence. It is laced with purple slides and swings. It includes a dragon fly teeter totter for a school project she was enjoying and is speckled with butterflies, an insect she loved.
The people in the park are different too.
"We're much stronger, much tighter, I think that we really look out for our own a lot more," said Melissa Capatani.
John Guydon launched the "Lassy Project," in honor of the Westminster girl.
"This was 100 percent inspired by Jessica's story," Guydon said.
His free app is focused on preventing child abductions. It allows parents to join a village and track their kids, alerting them if they get off course.
"Parents can press a button and literally have hundreds of people looking for their missing child in seconds," Guydon said.
This community will forever be split into halves of before and after.
"Once you got in the neighborhood, you could feel the energy. Absolutely changed this neighborhood," said Jordan.
Earlier this week, the teen accused of killing her, 18-year-old Austin Sigg, pleaded guilty to all counts against him just before he was to go on trial. He'll be sentenced in November.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.