FBI evidence response team has searched Jessica Ridgeway's Westminster home

Search continues for girl missing since Friday

WESTMINSTER, Colo. - Members of the FBI evidence response team searched the home of a missing 10-year-old Westminster girl Tuesday.

According to 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost, Jessica Ridgeway's family left their home just after noon in a police escort.

Not more than 10 minutes later, the FBI set up a mobile crime scene lab, put on protective clothing and entered Jessica's home.

It was not immediately clear what the agents would have been looking for in the home. Sources tell 7NEWS such searches are routine in missing children cases.

Jessica's family spent much of the day at the Westminster Police Department and didn't return home until after 8 p.m.

The girl's parents gave their first news media interview at police headquarters in the afternoon. Then family members who had just arrived from out of town gave interviews to investigators, 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart reported Tuesday night.

Authorities have said they do not have any suspects in the girl's disappearance.

During the exhaustive investigation, police and FBI agents have canvassed some 400 homes in the girl's neighborhood while sifting through 450 tips from the public.

Jessica 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 never showed up at the park or at school.

Search teams have canvassed Jessica's neighborhood and nearby open spaces looking for clues.

Tuesday police released photos and video of Jessica in the hopes that the public would recognize her voice or face and report it.

During a 6:30 a.m. news conference Tuesday police said they will focus on canvassing the neighborhood where she disappeared and looking at several open space areas they have not yet checked. About three hours later, Westminster police spokesman Trevor Matterasso announced they were about 52 percent finished with their canvassing.

Investigators are checking information from 450 unique tips, but Matterasso continued to invite additional information. He said historical statistics show 40 to 60 percent of individuals do not realize they may have witnessed something related to an abduction.

Anyone who might have any information about Jessica's disappearance or current whereabouts is asked to contact police at 303-658-4336 or pdamberalert@cityofwestminster.us.

Matterasso also announced that Jessica's family would be taping an interview to share with all local news outlets Tuesday afternoon.

Bob Pliszka works with Jessica's mother at ParTech in Boulder. He said coworkers rallied to support the family.

"Everyone is optimistic and doing what they can, People wanted to donate vacation hours for her to use for being away," he said.

The canvassing of homes in the neighborhood around Jessica's house continued Tuesday.

The FBI and other agencies were exploring if the girl might have taken shelter in a parked car during the cold weekend, if she snuck into a house or garage or if someone might be hiding her, homeowners told 7NEWS.

"They showed up and they wanted to search the house," said Robert Renteria, who lives next door to the Ridgeway home. "They searched it pretty good. Closets, boxes, drawers, everything."

"My attitude is check. Go ahead, check. Do what you need to do," said neighbor Kathleen Rodriguez. "I know she's not here, but they need to know that."

"Every search is crucial, that’s why we’re conducting those and that’s why we’re repeating. We’re still in Jessica’s neighborhood, obviously. That area has been searched. Areas are being searched a second and third time. We’re focusing on the area she was last seen in and again we’re focusing on the area where that backpack was found," Matterasso said.

Neighbor Kerry Viney said the investigators also asked if he'd noticed suspicious vehicles or any workers who had recently come into the neighborhood.

Steve Kesel, who was house-sitting for a friend in the neighborhood, let investigators search the home, including its attic.

"I'm just helping out," Kesel said. "They're just asking, 'Did you see any suspicious things going on in the neighborhood (like) different vehicles?'"

Referring to Jessica's mother, Kesel said: "I hope for a speedy, speedy happiness for this lady -- putting the kid back in her mom's arms."

Sources tell 7News that investigators are looking into a report that someone saw a suspicious van in the Ridgeway's neighborhood on Friday morning when Jessica disappeared.

That sighting came a day after two girls -- ages 10 and 11 -- told Arvada police that a man in a white van followed them as they walked home from Lawrence Elementary. That school is only about 8 miles from Jessica's home.

Arvada police are investigating the van incident, and Westminster police say they haven't ruled out a possible connection with Jessica's disappearance.

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