Jessica Ridgeway predator search: Could killer have attended her memorial service?
Original post, 6:07 a.m. October 8: Throughout the weekend, police officers and volunteers combed the Westminster area near where ten-year-old Jessica Ridgeway vanished on Friday.
Then, yesterday, a backpack believed to be Jessica's was discovered in Superior, more than six miles from where she was last seen -- a development that continues to spread via social media.
The Westminster Police Department was notified at around 4:30 p.m. on October 4 that Jessica was missing. She was last seen leaving her home at around 8:30 a.m. to walk to her school, Witt Elementary -- a journey of about 1.3 miles that typically takes her to Chelsea Park, where she tends to rendezvous with classmates also headed to classes.
Turns out Jefferson County Public Schools had made a phone notification at around 10 a.m. that Jessica never showed up, but her mother didn't receive it until late afternoon, because she works at night and sleeps during the day.
Jessica is part of a custody dispute involving her father, who lives in Missouri. However, as the Denver Post reports, his presence at a custody hearing in that state on Friday has established a powerful alibi, and at this time, Westminster officers don't think a family member was involved in her disappearance.
Around 9:15 p.m. Friday, an Amber Alert was sent out via the usual network. Television broadcasts were interrupted and message boards throughout the area flashed details about a possible abduction. Meanwhile, police conducted searches of trails, parks and open spaces near Jessica's home, as well as notifying nearly 13,000 residents via telephone to keep an eye out for her. In addition, Jefferson County Public Schools let faculty and parents involved with Witt Elementary know about the situation.
In addition, a Missing Jessica Ridgeway Facebook page was established to serve as an online nexus of information, and the #JessicaRidgeway Twitter hashtag was publicized as well.
Police participating in the search for Jessica Ridgeway.
By Saturday, more than 800 people had reportedly volunteered to search for the little girl, joining law enforcement working with bloodhounds.
Continue to see a map of where the backpack was discovered, the latest Facebook updates and more photos of Jessica Ridgeway.