Authorities Confirm Body is 10-Year-Old Jessica Ridgeway
KREX News Room
WESTMINSTER, Colo.- Authorities have confirmed the body found Wednesday night is that of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
“It is with a great deal of sorrow in my heart that I regret to inform you that the body that was found in Arvada has been positively identified as Jessica Ridgeway,” said Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk.
The body was identified using DNA tests.
Investigators say the match took longer because the body wasn't intact when they found it.
“The family has been notified. We can’t begin to comprehend the amount of grief they’re going through,” said Birk. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to them. They’ve been in our hearts from the beginning."
Now, authorities are asking for residents' help in identifying a possible suspect, signaling a shift in the focus of the investigation.
“Our focus has changed from the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica,” said Birk.
"The commitment of the task force of investigators to this case will not waver, and our commitment and resolve to seek justice on behalf of Jessica will only grow stronger," commented Jim Yacone, special agent with the FBI.
"The most important thing that we can do now, our priority now, is the investigation, the apprehension and the prosecution of the person that did this," added Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey.
The FBI urges residents to be alert for people they know who might have suddenly changed their appearance or behavior, including missing work or appointments.
Jessica Ridgeway vanished on her walk to school on Oct. 5.
She lived with her mother in the Denver suburb of Westminster.
Jessica's body was discovered Wednesday night in Arvada just miles from her home.