Search for Missing Girl Focuses on Waterways Near Her Home

Westminster police are focusing thier search today on lakes and waterways near the home of 10 year-old Jessica Ridgeway. Police updated the public on their search efforts in an early morning news conference.

11 News brought that to you LIVE at 6:30a.m Wednesday morning.

Detectives said they are searching bodies of water as a precaution. Police tell us they are not going to search a landfill where garbage from the Ridgeway neighborhood is dumped unless they find evidence that points them in that direction. They isolated garbage that was collected at the time she disappeared, but have not sifted through it. Dectives tell us they are treating this as a missing person case because they have no evidence to the contrary. She has been missing since Friday morning.

Jessica's parents also spoke with reporters for the first time on Tuesday. Her mother Sarah said the day Jessica disappeared was like any other school day.

"I watched her walk out the door and I shut the door, and that's the last time I saw her," Sarah Ridgeway said. "I want her to come walking back through the door. I need her to walk back through that door."

Sarah's ex-husband Jeremy Bryant lives in Missouri and found out Jessica was missing on Friay, the day Sarah reported it to police. Jeremy said Tuesday he was questioned about Sarah.

"When I sat down with the FBI they asked me if I thought that (Sarah) did it," he said. "I told them there's no way that I would ever believe that."

Sarah said she's been asked similar questions both about herself and Jeremy. She denies any involvement.

"I know I didn't do anything," Sarah said. "Everybody who knows me, knows (Jessica), knows our family knows we didn't do anything."

Detectives also say they want the public to focus on physical features of the missing girl and have released more detailed information about her facial features. Jessica has a gap in her front teeth and a sore on the bridge of her nose under her glasses.

At the briefing, officers made no mention of the child enticement case from Arvada that may have been linked to Jessica's disappearance.

Sunday, police found a backpacke believed to belong to Jessica in a neighborhood in Superior, just outside Boulder. The backpack was found about six miles away from where 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was last seen. A homeowner in the area found the backpack and a water bottle lying on the sidewalk.

On Monday, law enforcement officers searched both Westminster and Superior. They used a helicopter to fly around a triangular area spanning from Westminster to Superior to the foothills.

Jessica was last seen leaving her home around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning. She always meets a friend at a park near her home so that the two can walk to school together. On Friday, police say Jessica never showed up at the park.

Around 10 a.m., the school called Jessica's mother to inform her that she never made it. Jessica's mother works the night shift, and did not receive the school's message until 4 p.m. She immediately called police.

Bloodhounds and thermal equipment were used as a search party consisting of family, friends and about 50 officers searched the area of 108th and Moore Friday evening. After finding no trace of the child, an AMBER Alert was issued at 9:20 p.m.

Saturday's search party ballooned to more than 500 volunteers and 50 law enforcement personnel, including members of the FBI. Volunteers combed through parks and open spaces, door knocked in neighborhoods, made phone calls and passed out flyers.

A dive team also searched Ketner Reservoir, located less than a mile from Witt Elementary School, where Jessica attends.

Along with deploying search parties, authorities are also following up on more than 100 tips.

Jessica is described as 4-foot-10 and 80 pounds, with shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes and wearing a black jacket with pink and purple glasses. She was last seen at 8:30 a.m on Friday, October 5.

Police say Jessica's parents are involved in a custody dispute, but at this time do not suspect the father.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Westminster Police Department at 303-658-2400.

Click on the link below to watch the home video of Jessica.