Jesse Paul Speer's alleged kidnapping victim saw photos of other naked girls before assault
Update, 10:52 a.m. October 15: As expected, Jesse Paul Speer has been charged in the abduction of an eleven-year-old girl in Cody, Wyoming last week.
Speer is a professional photographer with strong Colorado ties, but thus far, he has not been linked to the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Ridgeway, a ten-year-old Westminster girl who disappeared days before the Cody incident.
As we detail in previous coverage on view below, the FBI and local law enforcement planned a 10 a.m. news conference to announce the name of the man taken into custody over the weekend in relation to the abduction of the girl, who was lured into an SUV after the driver claimed to be searching for a lost puppy. However, information filtered out in advance suggesting that Speer had been arrested on a Wyoming warrant.
Speer's connection to the crime was confirmed at the just-completed news conference. According to KTVQ-TV, Speer has been accused of kidnapping, aggravated assault and use of a firearm in violation of Wyoming law. He's expected to appear in a Bozeman, Montana courtroom this afternoon; he was captured in the Montana community of Belgrade on Saturday.
Much of the news conference was hosted by Cody, Wyoming police chief Perry Rockvam, who talked at length about the importance of video that captured the SUV allegedly driven by Speer; officers were able to track the vehicle throughout his drive out of town. He also spoke about the abduction as being another series incident to take place in Cody of late, and suggested that in some ways, the town has suffered a loss of innocence.
See our previous coverage below.
Update, 6:32 a.m. October 15: While no suspects have been taken into custody regarding the murder of Jessica Ridgeway, a ten-year-old Westminster girl, an arrest has been made in another shocking area case -- the abduction, sexual assault and subsequent release of an eleven year old in Cody, Wyoming. A press conference is slated for later this morning, at which point the FBI is expected to announce that Jesse Paul Speer, forty, has been jailed in relation to the crime.
As we reported below, the eleven year old was with friends on Monday, October 8, when a man in an SUV approached them and asked for help finding a missing puppy. The girl got into the vehicle, then vanished for hours, prompting an Amber Alert. Later that evening, a group of hunters saw the girl walking along a roadway in an extremely remote area. After picking her up, she revealed that she'd been abducted, and authorities subsequently said she'd been sexually assaulted. The photo above is a pixilated version of a shot featured in the Amber Alert.
Early last week, speculation surfaced that the Cody abduction and the Jessica Ridgeway case might be related. But while the same Denver FBI office investigated both offenses, authorities there subsequently stressed that there is no known connection between them.
As the Wyoming inquiry gathered momentum, a sketch of a possible suspect was released. Here it is:
Then, late Sunday afternoon, the FBI announced that a suspect had been arrested in the community of Belgrade, Montana. No further details were released in advance of a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. this morning at Cody City Hall, 1338 Rumsey Avenue. But the Montana Independent Record reports that a man named Jesse Paul Speer was booked into the Gallatin County Detention Facility 45 minutes shy of midnight on Saturday. According to records accessed by the paper, the agency that arrested Speer was the FBI, and he was slapped with a $2 million bond based on a Wyoming warrant.
As noted by the Independent Record, local officials wouldn't say whether Speer had been busted for kidnapping and assaulting the Cody girl.
Meanwhile, Wyoming's KRTV shared the following Facebook photo of Speer. As you can see, the image bears a resemblance to the sketch released earlier:
The Denver Post reports that Speer, a professional photographer, had numerous connections to Colorado, "including homes and and photography businesses in Colorado Springs, Woodland Park , Dubois, Manitou Springs and Estes Park." He also took photos for the Estes Park Trail Gazette and that community's Chamber of Commerce.
On his personal Facebook page, Speer describes himself in the following bio that also appears on the website Jessespeer.com:
The images I see through my camera are meditations on found beauty within the world around me. And though I appreciate the inherent beauty of things, I am more interested in the happenstance discovery of a beauty that is more elusive, unassuming and ephemeral. I seek out opportunities to make photographs within these fleeting moments of solitary perception.His most recent Facebook post, accompanied by a photo of Grand Teton National Park, appeared on September 28. It reads:
I explore the aesthetics of the accessible landscapes that surround me (of both grand and diminutive scale), cultivating a more acute awareness of the depths of true beauty that wait below the surface of things. The selective vision of a camera viewfinder intensifies this experience. The exposures I bring home are a means of dwelling in the refuge of imagination found within simple moments of beauty.
My photographic efforts frequently take place in the wild and rural places of the Rocky Mountains and western United States. I find inspiration in both the quiet rural road and the lonely wilderness trail. Yet, I am most captivated by an addictive mix of solitude and solace that comes from my interactions within nature. My portfolios feature favorite moments and meditations from these places.
I have a few simple tendencies that guide my methodology. I use the stripped down language of black and white whenever possible, and color when it is necessary. I always work with a palette of available light. The aesthetics of my work are created largely by my choices at the time of exposure, rather than by software. I rely mostly on digital SLR cameras and telephoto lenses -- tools that allow for expressive and responsive thinking within the fleeting moments I photograph.
If you'd like to learn more about my work, I encourage you to ask questions.
I'm hitting the road. This is my last photo post for a few weeks. Vacation time is upon me, and I'm taking to the road with a camera in hand -- and no particular destination in mind. See you soon ... and thank you for your continued support of my work!Look here for future updates on these developments.
Note: A reference to a blog item in an earlier version of this post has been removed; it was written by someone else with the same name. We apologize for the error.
Continue to see our previous coverage, including photos and video.