Jessica Ridgeway predator search: Could killer have attended her memorial service?
Update, 4:24 p.m. October 12: Moments ago, Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk confirmed what Jessica Ridgeway's family, friends and loved ones, as well as people throughout the community and beyond, have been dreading: The body discovered in Arvada on Wednesday has been positively identified as the ten-year-old, who's been missing since last Friday. And the words that followed were equally chilling. "There is a predator in our community," he said.
Even before Birk spoke, the turnout for the 4 p.m. news conference -- which included Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey and Jim Yacone, special agent in charge of the FBI's Denver division -- suggested that the announcement would be significant. So, too, was the resolve voiced by Birk and the other speakers. They noted that hundreds of homes and vehicles have already been searched, and a majority of the 1,500 tips received to date have been or are being investigated. Moreover, dozens of law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly on the case, and their efforts will only ramp up now.
As Birks put it, the focus of law enforcement efforts has shifted from a search for Jessica to a mission to bring her justice.
Update, 5:20 a.m. October 12: It was another agonizing day of waiting and not knowing for the family, friends and loved ones of Jessica Ridgeway, a ten-year-old Westminster girl who's been missing since Friday. Authorities still have not identified a body found in Arvada Wednesday -- one that a police spokesman has said was "not intact." Meanwhile, the search continues, as the FBI urges people to keep an eye out for what is now explicitly being called a kidnapper.
Police professionals and volunteers who've been searching for Jessica throughout the weekend, and the week that followed, didn't cone upon the human remains discovered at Pattridge Park, an open space area in Arvada. Instead, workers picking up trash found body parts.
Since then, officials have been pouring over the land across the area, looking for any clue that might lead them to the person or persons responsible for this terrible act.
A Fox31 screen capture of Pattridge Park.
Because the body has not yet been identified, and probably won't be until this afternoon at the earliest, the searches being conducted for Ridgeway are ongoing -- and reports continue to come in from around the country about possible sightings. This one from Maine is an example.
Meanwhile, the folks at the Missing Jessica Ridgeway Facebook page are doing their best to maintain optimism. One link to BringJessicaHome.com, a website selling T-shirts and the like, is accompanied by the note, "Proceeds will go into a fund set up by Jessica's family to help her when she gets home!"
There's also this:
We posted a couple of days ago that if you have put a poster, picture, ribbon up outside your home that we would love to have you send us a picture, as well as if you see billboards, or company signs with her information. We LOVE to show Jessica and her family how much love and support she has as well as what areas all over the US are covered vs where we need her face posted. Please e-mail email@example.com and just include the city and state.In the meantime, Dave Joly, the face of the local FBI branch, held a news conference in conjunction with a release offering tips about how people may be able to identify Jessica's abductor. The complete release is below, along with Fox31 coverage of Joly's remarks and a closer look at Pattridge Park.
The FBI Denver Division and FBI resources from around the country continue to support the Westminster Police Department in their current investigation; with personnel, an evidence response team, a specialized dog search group, members of the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) Team, and our Behavioral Analysis Unit.Continue to see our previous coverage, including photos and videos.
Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) Team
The FBI's CARD Team consists of regionally based special agents selected for their specialized experience and training in child abduction investigations. This is a national resource that deploys to provide case specific support to FBI Field Offices and local law enforcement.
Behavioral Analysis Unit 3 (crimes against children):
The mission of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) is to provide behaviorally-based operational support for complex and time-sensitive cases. Resources are focused on crimes perpetrated against child victims, including abductions, mysterious disappearances of children, homicides, and sexual victimization.
The FBI BAU recommendations are as follows:
• Often, someone in the community will unknowingly be associated with the offender of the crime, and may be in a position to observe behavioral changes in that person. They will recognize the changes, and may even question the person about it, but may not relate the changes to that person's involvement in the crime.
• Immediately following the incident, he may miss work. The absence will be sudden and unplanned. He may either be a "no show" or he may offer a plausible excuse such as illness, death in the family, car trouble, etc.
• He may miss scheduled appointments/commitments and be unaccounted for during this period. These appointments/commitments may include such things as medical appointments, meetings with a probation officer, prior commitment to a friend or family member, drug test, etc.
• He may suddenly leave town, either with no explanation or with some plausible reason.
• This individual may express an intense interest in the status of this investigation and pay close attention to the media. However, some offenders may quickly turn off media accounts or try to redirect conversations concerning the victims or their families.
• There may be changes in the usual consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.
• He may make a change in his appearance or alter something to prevent identification, such as changing the look of his vehicle, clean or discard his vehicle.
Federal Kidnapping Act
Following the Lindbergh kidnapping, the United States Congress adopted a federal kidnapping statute--commonly known as the Lindbergh Law 18 U.S.C. § 1201 -- which was intended to let federal authorities pursue kidnappers.