WESTMINSTER, Colo. - As the sentencing hearing gets underway Monday for Jessica Ridgeway's killer, prosecutors will focus on the tragic end of Jessica's life.
However, to family and friends, Jessica was not just a murder victim, she was a bright, funny, 10-year-old girl.
While many in the community know Jessica was passionate about purple, her family wears it to every hearing, friends and family members say Jessica was a silly, normal girl who loved to dance and "shake her booty." She liked to tell knock-knock jokes and paint her face in blue and green makeup.
Jessica's mother, Sarah Ridgeway, said Jessica loved school and liked to do things for herself. She said Jessica took care of preparing herself for school in the morning.
She wanted to be a teenager before she was a teenager, Sarah said.
Jessica had had two fish and two frogs. And, like many kids, she loved to watch Disney Channel shows like "Shake It Up" and "The Wizards of Waverly Place." One of her favorite songs was "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.
"Jessica was an ordinary little girl, brought up by an ordinary family," Jessica's aunt Gay Moore said. "She argued with us. She didn't want to take a bath. She didn't want to go to bed on time. But she touched all of our lives in a special way, just by being who she was."
"Jessica was one of the happiest kids I've ever known," said family friend Beverly Sternberg.
Sarah said her home feels quiet and empty without her daughter. She said Jessica's voice is missing.
The park Jessica was walking to on the day she disappeared has been renamed Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park. The remodeled park features purple slides and swings. It includes a dragon fly teeter-totter and is speckled with butterflies, an insect Jessica loved.