ID expected for body found in Arvada field

Police say body is not intact

ARVADA, Colo. - Authorities may release the identity Friday of a body that was found in an Arvada open space park.

The remains were found Wednesday in Arvada's Pattridge Park Open Space.

Sources have told 7NEWS parts of the body are missing, which is why it has taken so long to find an identity.

The grisly discovery comes during a state-wide search for a 10-year-old girl who went missing a week ago.  Jessica Ridgeway disappeared while walking to school in Westminster.

ABC News has reported unnamed sources as saying the body found in Arvada is Jessica, however Westminster police have refused to comment.

The body was found about six miles from where Jessica lived.

"We appreciate the media recognizing that from the helicopter you have footage of the body that would show the public the body was not intact," said Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso. "This is extending the length of time for the investigation to positively identify who that body is."

However, the video also shows that the body is small, and does not appear to be that of an adult victim. It was found next to a culvert, and also appeared to be near a black garbage bag.

Materasso said investigators have contacted Ridgeway's family and told them about the condition of the body. Her parents have been ruled out as suspects in the girl's disappearance.

In their search for an "unknown suspect" who abducted her, Westminster police are reiterating the importance of tips and asked anyone who had any information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to call the tip line at 303-658-4336.

The open space is south of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge and is dotted with abandoned coal mine shafts. The area is favored by mountain bikers and model airplane flyers on weekends.

Jessica disappeared last Friday around 8:30 a.m. Her mother told police that Jessica left home in the morning to walk to school with friends. It was Jessica's usual routine to walk three blocks to Chelsea Park where she would meet friends and walk the 1 mile to Witt Elementary School.

Investigators Scour Pattridge Park Open Space

Police blocked off West 82nd Avenue between Highway 93 and Oak Street for much of the day Wednesday, and again Thursday, while searching the crime scene and nearby open space.

Hundreds of investigators from 35 law enforcement agencies are working the case.  Dozens fanned out in the open space park.  Working in a line, they walked the hillside to the west and to the east of where the body was found near a culvert.

Other searchers worked the area near West 86th Avenue and Simms Street.  Others concentrated on an area near West 95th and Alkire.

Residents of the Spring Mesa subdivision, which is under construction just south of 82nd Avenue, said they were stunned to learn that a body had been found nearby and that it had been dismembered.

"It's frightening," said Linda Cantor. "Everyone likes to think that their neighborhood is safe, but there is no invisible barrier to keep us safe."

"It's a sickening feeling," said Jesslyn Beauchamp. "We all have children of our own. It could have been our child. I feel horrible for the parents."

Pattridge Park is about 6 miles from the neighborhood where Jessica disappeared. It's also about 11 miles  from where her water bottle and backpack were found in the Rock Creek subdivision of Superior.

Counselors have been called to Jessica's school, which is part of the Jefferson County School District.

Jeffco Mental Health and Jeffco Schools are opening a crisis center at Wells Fargo Building at 7878 N. Wadsworth from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday night to help anyone who may have a hard time dealing with the case or talking to their children about what is occurring.

Jeffco Schools Warned Parents Of Stranger Danger Incidents

Three weeks before Jessica disappeared, Arvada police and Jefferson County schools sent a letter to parents warning them about two "stranger danger" incidents.

In the two incidents in mid-September, Arvada police said an 8- and a 9-year-old were nearly abducted.

According to Arvada police, around 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 9, a child was walking near Quaker Acres Park, near 74th Place and Terry Court, when someone tried to entice the child into a car with candy.

Another elementary school student reported a similar incident happening around 5:40 p.m. on Sept. 12, in front of Fitzmorris Elementary School.

"Both of them said they were offered candy to get into the vehicle. In both incidences, they knew to run and tell an adult," said Arvada police spokeswoman Jill McGranahan.

Fitzmorris and other Arvada-area Jefferson County schools sent home letters with students. One parent told

7NEWS she also received an automated phone call.

According to police, the two children described a white man with brown hair. They said he had no facial hair or glasses. His age range is between 20 and 40.

The suspected vehicle is a royal blue 4-door sedan.

Print this article Back to Top