CBS4- The Jessica Ridgeway investigation has broadened to include Standley Lake in Westminster and the neighborhoods surrounding Pattridge Open Space Park in Arvada where a body was found.
CBS4 Denver has confirmed maintenance workers picking up trash found the unidentified body in Arvada on Wednesday night.
The body was found next to West 82nd Avenue, near Pattridge Park open space and Highway 93, about seven miles from Ridgeway’s home in Westminster. It’s still not clear how the body was found, and Westminster Police spokesman Trevor Materasso said it was “not intact.”
Jessica Ridgeway was last seen on her way to meet a group of friends on Friday morning before they began their daily walk to Witt Elementary School in Westminster.
The body found in the open space has not been positively identified as that of the 10-year-old.
Investigators continued to search the field where the body was found for evidence and clues.
Neighbors said they talked to police about seeing anything suspicious leading up to the discovery of the body.
“I’m very sorry. I’m very much afraid that it’s the little girl,” said Shirley Snyder.
Snyder lives just a few streets away from where the grim discovery surfaced.
“They asked if I had seen anything suspicious in my backyard, like thrown over my fence,” said Snyder.
“That’s as much quiet country as you can get. There’s nothing back there from this house to 93 there’s nothing,” said neighbor Chris Mourie.
Mourie is one of several neighbors who have told police about suspicious activity in the community.
“There was a green pickup truck that was parked there yesterday. Because this was such a remote area we really don’t see that many people,” said Mourie.
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“Most of the people who come here to walk their dogs are regulars. You very seldom see somebody new show up. And then to have him show up and walking down through that area all of a sudden. I never saw the vehicle before, never saw the guy before, so I was a little suspicious.”
Shelby White told police about an unusual circumstance surrounding a different vehicle.
“Last Sunday I noticed a car that seemed very odd to me. What happened was it pulled up to the bridge and stopped but it never left,” said White.
On Standley Lake in Westminster located at 100th Avenue and Simms Street, north of where the body was discovered, investigators searched the shoreline in the water for evidence.
The agents were from Jefferson and Douglas Counties. A Douglas County Mobile Crime Lab was also set up in the area. Investigators filled bags with evidence and stacked them in a nearby SUV. They have not confirmed what they were looking for or what, if anything, was discovered.
There was also a mobile crime lab set up at 96th and Alkire. What was being collected there is unknown.
Ridgeway is listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children list. The following is known about her disappearance:
- Jessica Ridgeway, 10, disappeared on her way to school on the morning of Oct. 5. After leaving home on foot, she never met up with friends she normally walks to school with at Chelsea Park. The park is about three blocks from her home and about a mile from the school.
- When she didn’t arrive at Witt Elementary School in Westminster, Jefferson County Schools officials tried to contact her mother. They made a call at 10 a.m. but were only able to leave a voicemail. Ridgeway’s mother, who works an overnight shift and sleeps during the day, didn’t get the message until 4:30 p.m. and immediately contacted Westminster police.
- It took about five hours before the protocols were met in the case for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to call an Amber Alert.
- Ridgeway’s backpack was found on the sidewalk near Alpha Court and Andrew Drive in the Rock Creek neighborhood in Superior. That’s 6.4 miles away from her home. It’s unknown so far at what point the backpack wound up there.
- The CBI analyzed the backpack for DNA evidence and collected evidence from Ridgeway’s home for comparison.
- Searches were taking place around Jessica’s home and her school, as well as in open space areas in Westminster. Another area that underwent an extensive search was Rock Creek and open space areas near there.
- A day after their tearful televised plea for help and thanks to the community, police on Oct. 10 ruled out Ridgeway’s parents as being involved in her disappearance. Police said Ridgeway may have been abducted by an unknown suspect.
- Late in the day on Oct. 11 a body is found in Arvada near Highway 93, about seven miles from Ridgeway’s home.