Remains found in Arvada are those of missing girl Jessica Ridgeway, Westminster police say

10-year-old disappeared one week ago

WESTMINSTER, Colo. - The body found in Arvada on Wednesday is that of missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, Westminster police confirmed Friday.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation utilized DNA testing to identify the body.

Wearing purple ribbons, Jessica's favorite color, the leaders of the various law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation gathered outside the Westminster Police Department to make the grim announcement.

"The mission has changed from a search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica," Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said.

"The commitment will not waver, and our commitment and resolve to get justice for Jessica," said Jim Yacone of the FBI.

Jessica disappeared one week ago. Her mother told police that the girl left home to walk to school with friends, but she never arrived.

Wednesday night, Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso announced a body had been found in Arvada's Pattridge Park Open Space. The body, he clarified the next day, was not intact.

The open space park is about 6 miles from the neighborhood where Jessica disappeared.

We recognize "there's a predator at large in our community," Birk said.

"The most important thing we can do now is the investigation, the apprehension and the prosecution of the person who did this," said Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey.

To date, the investigators from 35 agencies have received more than 1,500 tips and 800 leads, Yacone said. He said teams will continue to follow those leads.

Thursday, the FBI released a general psychological profile of the man who took Jessica Ridgeway in hopes it would help the public look for possible suspects.

Materasso reiterated Friday that the community could help to solve the case.

"We need to engage that community and we need to recognize the role they play," he said.

FBI spokesman Dave Joly said the suspect could "be your boss, your friend" or a family member. 

The FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit said that 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. [Read the complete profile.]

ABC News reported Friday that investigators planned to check records of cell phone towers near Jessica's home, the location in Superior where her backpack was found and the park in Arvada where her body was found.

Anyone with information about this case can contact the investigation by calling 303-658-4336 or emailing

Shortly after the announcement, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation cancelled the Amber Alert for Jessica.

"This is an unthinkable end to an unthinkable crime in our community," said Governor John Hickenlooper. "On behalf of all of Colorado, we offer our deepest sympathies to her family and friends."

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