Jessica Ridgeway Murder: Investigation Focuses On Suspects Of Prior Kidnap Attempts, Points To Local Suspect

Jessica Christine Ridgeway , the grape-hued bespectacled 10 year old who lit up the court as a Stadley Lake pee wee cheerleader, left her Westminster home at 8:30am on October 5, 2012.

She was due to meet her walk-buddy Jeremy after speaking to him briefly from her Mom’s cell at 8:25am.  When she did not show by 8:40am, he hitched a ride from his Dad to avoid missing the 8:50am bell.  The drive route would not pass an “enroute” Jessica if she were to take the normal path to school.

Jessica never made it to Witt Elementary School (WES) and the school called her Mother’s cell by 9am to alert her to her absence.

Sarah Ridgeway, Jessica’s Mother,  worked the night shift and never heard the cell phone she left downstairs.  Later in the afternoon Sara retrieved the voice mail from WES,  got in her car and began looking for her daughter.

Ridgeway reports her only child she shared with Jeremiah Bryant missing via 911 when she was unable to locate her.   Jeremiah Bryant, Jessica’s Father, was alerted first by his employer when police were trying to determine his whereabouts, and then directly by investigators.

Despite the 6   hour delay  Westminster Police reacted swiftly.  They had interviewed children that normally walked to school with Jessica by the end of the school day and issued an amber alert by 9:15 PM Friday evening.

 

Victorious.   This is the word splashed across Jessica’s pink backpack found by a neighbor in nearby Superior in the early hours of Sunday October 7th.  It was believed to have been placed there between 6:45PM Saturday and midnight Sunday morning.

By Sunday afternoon Jessica’s family had confirmed the backpack ,complete with water bottle bearing her name , was hers.  By Sunday afternoon investigators knew the chances of this ending well were lost when a clear and deliberate placement of a missing ten year old child’s backpack was a definite calling card intended for them.

The complete contents of the bag or any other evidentiary clues it yielded have not been released.

Hours before Waste Management crews would stumble across the horrific mutilated partial remains of the little girl whose abduction had thousands of law enforcement assets scrambling to find her and the rest of us with cable-holding our collective breath,  Jessica’s parents were cleared of any involvement in her disappearance.  An unknown predator was responsible, and HE was out there.

 

While it has not been disclosed publicly, sources inside the investigation speaking to BOC on the condition of anonymity have confirmed that both Sara Ridgeway and Jeremiah Bryant were administered and passed polygraph examinations.

Panic Button

 

82nd St, west of Quaker.   Across from a series of abandoned buildings and near a dilapidated mine shaft, Jessica’s torso was discovered by a maintenance team routinely scheduled to clear debris from the area. While her remains were partially concealed by a dark garbage bag,  it was clear whoever placed them where they were intended for them to found quickly.   Close to a drainpipe that would have likely hidden the fate of the little girl indefinitely, her killer chose instead to traverse a culvert placing the bag inside the barbed wire fence on an elevated area visible from the road.  Sources indicate to BOC that the the dismemberment was intentional and several body parts remain missing.

The state of her dismembered corpse delayed her identification from the prevailing methods of dental records and fingerprints and had to be confirmed via DNA through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) lab.  It did not delay a thinly veiled and uniform look of panic among law enforcement officials in Westminster, Arvada, the FBI and the Jefferson County DA  during the press conference announcing what everyone already knew.

An autopsy preformed last week awaits toxicology and other anthropologic study results to make a final determination on her cause of death,  however,  as police have established she was murdered there is no question her manner of death is listed as homicide.

Jessica Ridgeway was the victim of a child predator of the darkest variety, and he is likely a member of the immediate community living among those in their extreme fear and grief.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Last Fall, and as recently as a few weeks before Jessica was abducted,  police in Jefferson county had been alerted to what they believed amounted to two different men suspected of attempting to lure children into their vehicles.  A letter was sent home from Jessica’s school in September.

While it is not known if these suspects and composites are connected to Jessica’s murder,  police would still like the public’s help in providing any information about their identity and whereabouts.

Last November a series of attempted abductions of young girls in Arvada caused Arvada police  to release a composite of an as-yet unidentified suspect.

Attempted Child Abduction Incidents

  • On Saturday, November 12, 2011, just after 3:00 p.m. in the area of Danny Kendrick Park (7000 Ward Road) and the Apex Recreation Center. Arvada Police were called to the area on a report of an attempted child abduction involving a 12-year-old Arvada girl.
  • On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, just after 8:00 p.m., a 6-year-old child was contacted by a man as she sat in a lounge area of the YMCA located at 6350 Eldridge Street. The suspect lured her outside and she was able to break free and return to her parents inside the building.

Indecent Exposure

  • On Friday, November 4, 2011, three 12-year-old girls were playing outside in the area of 69th and Robb Street when the suspect approached the girls and exposed and touched himself in their presence.

Suspicious Incident

 

  • On Monday, November 14, 2011, Arvada Police were called the area of 77th and Parfet Street where a 15-year-old girl was contacted by a man driving a silver or white four door car who began asking her for directions.

 

Although Westminster Police have publicly ruled out any connection to the Ridgeway case,  about 8 hours away in Cody, Wyoming,  Jesse Paul Speer, an acclaimed wilderness and wildlife photographer with ties to Colorado was arrested for abducting and sexually assaulting an 11 year old girl he forced into his vehicle after she declined along with her friends to help the man search for his imaginary dog.

On Monday October 8th, Speer is alleged to have sexually assaulted the child in his vehicle over a 4 hour period, finally releasing her with a bag over her head in a remote stretch of wilderness in temperatures under 30 degrees and known for heavy predatory wildlife.  Speer , a highly experienced outdoorsman,  knew the chances of his victim  succumbing to hypothermia or worse- were strongly in his favor.

Fortunately, Speer’s victim was found wandering by a hunter and amazingly was able to provide a full description of her attacker,  the route she was taken although her hands were bound behind her back and Speer’s repeatedly pushed her head down into the seat AND described that while she was being assaulted Speer’s had hundreds of pictures of naked girls strewn about the vehicle.

Westminster Police have not elaborated on the FBI’s exclusion of Speer in the Ridgeway case and the only known and verifiable whereabouts of Speer are based on video of him entering the Yellowstone National Park at 4PM October 7.

While I have faith in the FBI, I admit that that the likelihood of two separate and distinct  perpetrators engaging in the stranger abduction and assault of similarly aged girls when the same also occurred a day earlier in Westminster being two different offenders is very slim- gives me great pause.  Speer fits the suggested general FBI profile found below.

Speer is being held on a $2 Million dollar bond in Montana.

Much closer to home,  as recently as last May, a female jogger was attacked by an unknown man who attempted to shove a cloth in her face she felt had some sort of chemical on it.  It was the second attack on a jogger reported to police since 2010 and is currently unsolved.   An 8 year old on a dry trail  was similarly assaulted a few weeks before that about a mile away a few weeks prior to the May incident.

It is unknown if any of these incidents are related to the Ridgeway case, but until they can be excluded the possibility this suspect is not necessarily fixated on child victims should be of great concern.

If in fact Jessica did attempt to walk to school by cutting across 106th St,  she would have been walking on the gravel open space trails that connect with the Ketner  and Countryside loops.

The Suspect Profile

Well, sort of.  The FBI, through Agent Dave Joly has released a public request for citizens and especially parents to remain vigilant and in particular to take notice:

FBI spokesman Dave Joly on Thursday asked for the public’s help in identifying possible suspects.  He said the suspect could “be your boss, your friend” or a family member.

The FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit said that often, someone in the community will unknowingly be associated with the offender of the crime, and may be in a position to observe behavioral changes in that person. They will recognize the changes, and may even question the person about it, but may not relate the changes to that person’s involvement in the crime.

Immediately following the incident, he may miss work.  The absence will be sudden and unplanned.  He may either be a “no show” or he may offer a plausible excuse such as illness, death in the family, car trouble, etc.

He may miss scheduled appointments/commitments and be unaccounted for during this period.  These appointments/commitments may include such things as medical appointments, meetings with a probation officer, prior commitment to a friend or family member, drug test, etc.

He may suddenly leave town, either with no explanation or with some plausible reason.

This individual may express an intense interest in the status of this investigation and pay close attention to the media.  However, some offenders may quickly turn off media accounts or try to redirect conversations concerning the victims or their families.

There may be changes in the usual consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.

He may make a change in his appearance or alter something to prevent identification, such as changing the look of his vehicle, cleaning or discarding his vehicle.

Joly said the FBI is “working on an abundance of leads” in the case.  He would not discuss specifics of the body that was found Wednesday and said the FBI is only wanting to give a profile to the public so that they might notice the behavior of the suspect.

Anyone with information should call the tip line at 303-658-4336.

(Editors Note:  Ask for Suzie Salmon sweet girl- over by the canopy)

Research Credit: BOC editor Jacqueline Beaufort

 

 

 

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284 Comments

  1. susanm says:

    17 years old,wow, i guess he was missing from school, too.where’s the crime scene,is that kinda of a too young profile, for this overplanned stranger assaults.

  2. sunshine_4me says:

    Blink, you may not want to post this. Can’t believe this paper has published this much personal info on a juvie; I guess they are confident with this arrest.
    http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2012/1024/20121024_115558_austin_sigg_custory_redacted.pdf

  3. Ode says:

    OMG, OMG, OMG An arrest has been made. Please lord let this resolve what happened to this poor dear child.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/westminster-police-announ_n_2010502.html?ncid=webmail1

  4. peg says:

    They got him! CSI student – his mother turned him in

  5. hervness says:

    @Cindy and Joan T.

    Personally, what I’ve done is become more aware and to a point, stopped being nice. When I see something that is out of place to me, I stop, question and make it a point to be seen. “I’m watching you” sort of thing. I work near a grade school and I saw a guy, in a beat up truck driving slowly past the school while the kids were at recess. I took a picture of his truck, made sure he saw me do it. WE, as people in society, need to be vigilant about the things that are happening around us. We’ve become lazy and afraid to get involved in what’s happening around us. We’ve become so wrapped up in furthering our cause that we ignore the “cause” of others. Sure, people may think you’re rude or accuse you of “butting in”, but I’d rather be considered rude and throw someone off their “game” so to speak.
    I’m notorious (amongst my friends and family) for speaking out against things, sometimes it’s gotten me into situations where I had to leave or back away, but I’ve never regretted SAYING SOMETHING.
    I think as a small child my parents were concerned. We were at a 4th of July celebration and I saw a complete stranger kick at his dog. My mom retells the story better, but she said she’ll never forget the little blond kid in the sundress dressing down an adult (while other adults looked on) for kicking his dog. She said she knew I would be ok.
    I think we’ve lost that as a society. I see people afraid to get involved and that, more than any other thing I’ve seen, freaks me out for the future. If you see something weird or out of place, question it in a respectful way. Be vigilant about yourself and your community.

  6. Proud2BADanceMom says:

    I’m sure like me everyone is anxious to see if this guy has any connection to the area’s other attempted kidnappings besides the jogger at the lake…

  7. BlackPearl says:

    Keep thinking that the cross is hand carved, carved by an individual who is either a novice at carving or is working somewhat hurridly due to the imperfect nature of finalized cross (but not too hurridly because it does look like the cross was stained and varnished) and yes, Blink, knowing the type of wood would help out a lot, as would knowing the approximate age of the piece. I am guessing a common wood, like walnut, nothing that valuable or unique (which may reflect killer’s standing in society).

    Option 1) The cross is new and the killer made the cross himself out of a relatively standard, easy to come by type of wood. People could try to remember if any neighbors or acquaintances have a wood shop, an electric drill to drill the hole at the top, have been seen whittling or carving wood, staining wood projects, and/or if wood shavings or sawdust have been observed on their clothing/property/house.

    Option 2) Cross was purchased recently by killer or someone else. Another poster said that the cross reminded him/her of a souvenir one might find in a roadside rock and gift shop in the mountains. To build on that, the cross really reminds me of something that might be in a touristy “tribal”/”hippy” shop in Boulder- like what you might find on Pearl Street– (or Denver), where they sell incense, big beaded necklaces, etc. Nothing very expensive because he wasn’t ritualistically elevating his victim in his mind; no, he discarded her like trash. Also reminded of what you might find at a fair trade imports store that sells items handmade in 3rd world countries where people make arts and crafts bc there are no jobs in those locations. I say this bc the cross is imperfectly made– like someone has to make a bunch of them, and has to make them by hand, so to be quick, they get it as close to rectangular as possible. Plus, it’s being marketed as “handmade” and it should look imperfect, “no two alike”.

    Option 3) Could the cross have come off of an older rosary given, inherited, or even stolen from an acquaintance known to the killer? I’ve seen several old rosaries online, many of which have imperfect wooden crosses. Makes sense if you consider the time– less TV, more hobbies, including carving and whittling, and wood is abundant and free. I could see the killer pulling apart a rosary and using part of it (the cross) in the murder/aftermath as a display of anger or out of spite for who ever originally owned the rosary (parent, grandparent, church leader, etc.)

  8. BlackPearl says:

    Also, I feel terrible asking this, but has the father of the boy Jess was supposed to meet officially been cleared/ruled out? I assume that LE has already done that, but it hasn’t been discussed here.

  9. acapella says:

    ARREST MADE Tuesday night…all over the news in Denver..held a PC at noon to announce! 17 year old kid…Thank GOD!!!!!!!!!!

  10. DMB says:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/24/14672250-teen-arrested-in-killing-of-jessica-ridgeway-10-year-old-colorado-girl?lite

    Looks to me like he matches the second sketch. However, I must say I’m shocked that is is only 17!

  11. Edward says:

    A 17 year old college student. Austin Reed Sigg

  12. Mom3.0 says:

    17-Year-Old Arrested In Jessica Ridgeway Murder Investigation

    http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/10/24/westminster-police-make-arrest-in-jessica-ridgeway-murder-investigation/

    I dont know what to say-

    They must be pretty certain as they are releasing his pic- which as a 17 year old is a big deal-

    –RIP Jessica
    My prayers to all
    AJMO
    Peace

  13. Mom3.0 says:

    He waved his rights? Argg no- somebody get him a lawyer before this turns into another WM3 case.

    I sure do hope LE are taping and documenting everything-

    My prayers to Jessicas family and friends and to all

    AJMO
    Peace

  14. [...] Sig, 17 year old Westminster resident is in custody for the murder of Jessica Ridgeway,  and charges stemming from an attempted kidnapping and murder of a Ketner trail jogger in [...]

  15. Joan T. says:

    Yay! He’s been caught!! And he’s being charged with TWO counts of first degree murder. TWO. Plus kidnapping. He’ll appear in court Thursday morning. This is all according to USA Today. Do you suppose they’re right about it being two counts? Did he kill someone else?

    His mother called the police and she points out that while she was the one who called, he then turned himself in. Wow.

  16. redly says:

    Joan — if I remember right from the theatre shooting case, Colorado has a weird law that leads prosecutors to always file two slightly different counts for every murder.

  17. Cindy says:

    No. 6 Hervness at 2:08 p.m.
    Thanks for your advice and thoughts on this issue. My eyes are wide open thanks to this site and the support of others like you. I’ve always been a bit backward as I was always taught to mind my own business (old school parents). But now that I have grandchildren, I see the world for what it is and can be. I am proud of how you take charge and make your neighbordhood a safer place and hope that I can do the same.

  18. Rose says:

    what’s with teenage killers in suburbia these days?
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/24/justice/jessica-ridgeway-arrest/index.html
    Should that lens be applied to other cases? (Kyron, 8th graders?)
    Both Autumn & Jessica took public informers who were not steered wrong prematurely
    by LE to a “suspect.”

  19. Rose says:

    there is only one thing I believe as yet about this youth, apart from his homicidal detachment,
    based on current press:
    ex.: http://m.denverpost.com/denverpost/pm_9034/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=BbCwDgDy
    That is, the public school utterly failed this 17 yo who likely should’ve been coded ED/LD since el ed
    and maybe was GT and/or Asperger’s too. He clearly did not get appropriate services, dropping out for a ged
    And mom was likely too overwhelmed all these years.

  20. Rose says:

    http://www.denverpost (dot) com/prosperitygospel/ci_4459571
    Note Rob Sigg ‘s role, Destiny Ranch
    At least Jerry didn’t put his name on the property deed like Leonard. .
    Churches like Heritage often have gift shops, including jewelry.

  21. Rose says:

    hmmmm. wonder if he made appearances at Destiny Ranch? ( music minister; child sex abuse)
    http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=83560
    While I think 17 yo had constitutional issues (ED?LD?GT?Aspergers?) I think with his school record there has to be a long history of failures by responsible school & drs to treat appropriately. Dad’s financial historic shenanigans are not this kettle of fish. I feel some child sex abuse might have been there. Heritage was likely
    a piece of his environment (it was Dad’s church) & contributed the cross, mentally if not the object. so bizarre a crime.

  22. Joan T. says:

    No. 6 Hervness at 2:08 p.m.
    If you see something weird or out of place, question it in a respectful way. Be vigilant about yourself and your community.

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Yes, Hervness. Thank you. I take heart reading your comment. I admit I HAVE become afraid over the years. I’m more afraid of these predators than I’m afraid of wild animals like bears or moose.

    But I take heart at reading your comment, because you’re right, we CAN take a bit of control and if nothing else, it will make all of us less afraid.

  23. [...] High School dropout Austin Sigg told his Mother  he kidnapped 10 year old Witt Elementary student Jessica Ridgeway the morning of Friday October [...]

  24. Ragdoll says:

    Thank you, good move as I would not have a chance to get to it soon and ROTFL.
    B

  25. Ragdoll says:

    If you put the 2 pics together, somehow, I can imagine a strong resemblance to Sigg.

    Has it been determined there was a partner in crime or is Sigg the lone killer?

    The investigation has been classified as ongoing. The warrants in the case were actually sealed PRIOR to knowledge of Sigg, so it had nothing to do with his age.
    B

  26. Wendy says:

    Regarding the video on YouTube by “lostwithinboredom.” Video from newscasts of the grey SUV being towed from Austin Sigg’s house show it is a gray Jeep. The video begins with a shot of the steering wheel – most definitely a grey Jeep. I’d bet money ‘lostwithinboredom’ is Austin Sigg.

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