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. (more…)