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Jessica Ridgeway killing: Police looking at earlier kidnap attempt

October 19, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Westminster, Colo., Police Chief Lee Birk leads officials to a news conference last week where he announced that a body found in Arvada, Calif., was that of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
Westminster, Colo., Police Chief Lee Birk leads officials to a news conference… (Ed Andrieski / Associated…)

Police in Colorado are reviewing details of an attempted abduction from last May in hopes of finding clues to the death of Jessica Ridgeway, a 10-year-old girl whose dismembered body was found this month.

Ridgeway was last seen on Oct. 5 while walking to school in Westminster, Colo., a suburb of Denver. Volunteers searched the area for days until her remains were found about 10 miles away in a field at Pattridge Park Open Space in Arvada.

Now authorities are looking back at an attempted abduction of a jogger in May and asking the public if it remembers anything about that event on the Ketner Lake Open Space. There was no evidence known to link the earlier incident to Jessica's disappearance, but Westminster police said in a Facebook posting that they were trying to figure out if there was a tie.

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“Due to the time frame and geographic proximity of Jessica's disappearance and the attempted abduction ... police are trying to determine if there is any connection between the two cases,” Westminster police Inspector Trevor Materasso stated.

At about 1:15 p.m. on Memorial Day, a man came up behind a 22-year-old jogger and put a rag over her face that smelled of chemicals, police said. She fought off the assailant and escaped.

Police also said there was a similar incident in July in the same park. That jogger said she screamed and frightened off the attacker.

The suspect was described by police as a male between 18 and 30 years old of medium build and just over 5 feet 6.

“Working with the FBI and the Behavioral Analysis Unit, we are asking the public to call us if anyone around you changed their behavior, acted unusual, failed to show up for a family activity or other change that was unusual,” police said. “We are specifically looking for these behavior changes on October 5, 2012 and days after Jessica’s disappearance and the Memorial Day weekend.”

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