Authorities combing Pattridge Park open space in Arvada, Colorado discovered a body Wednesday evening, but will not say if it is the body of missing Westminster 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway who disappeared on Friday on her way to school.
UPDATE: OCT. 11 -- At a Thursday morning press conference, authorities provided no new information about the unidentified body discovered in Arvada's Pattridge Park, about seven miles from Jessica's home. They also announced that they will continue to search for Jessica Ridgeway, the Associated Press reports.
Westminster Police said they are hoping for a positive ID of the body tomorrow and that they will call a press conference when they do.
From the Westminster Police Department's Twitter account:
On Wednesday, around 6:40 p.m., Westminster Police Department tweeted the following new information in the ongoing investigation:
This afternoon a body was discovered near the Pattridge Park Open Space in the City of Arvada....more... #jessicaridgeway
Arvada PD and Westminster PD and additional resources are working to process the crime scene....more... #jessicaridgeway
At this time, we are unable to determine if there is any connection to the #JessicaRidgeway investigation. ...more...
The crime scene will be secured through the night and additional work will be done in the morning. ...more... #jessicaridgeway
There will be additional information tomorrow morning at a press conference at the Westy PD at 6:30 am. ...END...#jessicaridgeway
Just this afternoon authorities said that the course of the investigation had led them to believe that Jessica had been abducted by an "unknown suspect." They also said they were confident that Jessica's parents were not involved in her disappearance.
According to the Associated Press, authorities have been following hundreds of leads from at least five states including Maine where there was a reported sighting of a girl who resembled Jessica in a car with Colorado license plates.
Police were also investigating a possible connection with Jessica's case to a kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl in Cody, Wyoming who was abducted for several hours, released and found on Monday.
Jessica was last seen Friday morning when she left her home to meet friends at a park so they could walk to school together, but police say she never met up with her friends at the park or made it to her school's campus.
From the AP:
Sarah Ridgeway said her daughter woke up at 7:45 a.m. Friday as usual and ate a granola bar before leaving to meet friends at a park about a block away for their walk to Witt Elementary School. Police say Sarah Ridgeway, a night-shift worker, was asleep and missed a call from school reporting Jessica absent. She got the message when she woke at about 4 p.m., eight hours after she said her daughter left the house.
Sarah Ridgeway checked the park, Jessica's friends and the school before calling police. Jessica never even met her friends that morning.
Since she went missing, police have released photos (below) and video (above) of Jessica with the hope that if more people see the fifth-grader's facial features, mannerisms and hear her voice, it might lead to her being recognized and located.
The police have asked the public to pay close attention to the young girl's most distinguishable features: a small gap between her two front teeth and a sore on the top of her nose where the bridge of her eyeglasses sit. Authorities said she may or may not be wearing eyeglasses.
Despite this new development in the case, police are still monitoring social media sites and tip lines for anyone with any information. Jessica is 4'10," 80 pounds, has shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes and was last seen wearing a black jacket with pink and purple eyeglasses. Anyone with any information is being asked to call the Westminster Police tip line: 303-658-4336 or email PDamberalert@cityofwestminster.us.
CORRECTION: An initial version of the update incorrectly stated that the press conference was held on Monday.
Photos of Jessica Ridgeway:
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more