Police have confirmed that a body they found in a suburban Denver park is that of mission 10-year-old girl Jessica Ridgeway. The young girl’s body was discovered about 7 miles southwest of her home.
The 10-year-old girl’s remains were discovered in an open area of Pattridge Park in Arvada, a suburb of Denver, according to CBS News. Authorities released few details about the body’s condition, except to say that it was not intact.
Anxious parents have kept a close watch over their children since Ridgeway disappeared a week ago, worried that there may be a predator in the area. Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk stated:
“Our focus has changed from the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica. We realize there is a predator at large in our community.”
Jessica Ridgeway disappeared while walking from her home to Witt Elementary School on October 5, but never arrived. A massive search did not begin for the young girl until hours later, because the girl’s mother missed a call from school officials saying her daughter had not arrived.
ABC News reports that the FBI warned residents in the area that Jessica may have been abducted by someone she knew, and have asked they the community be alert for people they know who may have either suddenly changed their appearance of uncharacteristically missed work or appointments. Dave Jolly, spokesman for the FBI, stated:
“It could be your boss, it could be your friend, and ultimately it could be your family member. We suspect someone in the community knows this individual.”
The FBI, in profiling Jessica’s abductor, has said that the individual may express an intense interest in the status of the investigation, paying close attention to the media’s coverage.
Police have already said that they don’t suspect Jessica’s parents in her disappearance, which has now turned into her murder. The only substantial evidence they have uncovered so far is the young Jessica Ridgeway’s backpack and water bottle, which were found about six miles from her home two days after she went missing.