Police have issued and Amber Alert in the case of missing child Jessica Ridgeway, who left her home Friday morning, but never made it to school. A backpack and a water bottle believed to belong to the missing girl were found by an area neighbor.
Jessica, 10, of Westminster, Colo., was last seen leaving her home at 8:30 a.m. on October 5 to go to school. She reportedly walks to school with a friend, whom she meets in a nearby park every morning, but that morning Jessica never showed. It wasn’t until 4 p.m. that her mother, who works a night shift, got the message left at 10 a.m. from Witt Elementary School that Jessica never got there that day. The mother, who is in a custody battle with Jessica’s father, immediately called police. The intensive search began with about 50 officers, family and friends, as well as bloodhounds and thermal equipment. Divers searched the reservoir near the school. They found no sign of the missing child; the Amber Alert was issued at 9:20 p.m. Friday. By Saturday there were 500 volunteers out searching for Jessica with police. One neighbor found a backpack and water bottle lying on the sidewalk that seem to be Jessica’s. According to Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso, “Now investigators are working with that backpack. We do have reason to believe that it is directly associated with this case. We’re working with the family to make those confirmations.”
Jessica, who stands about 4-foot-10 and weighs 80 pounds, has shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes and was last seen wearing pink and purple glasses and a black jacket.
Law enforcement has reached out to the community for any information that might lead to Jessica’s recovery. Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the Westminster Police Department at 303-658-2400.