Police find body of missing Colorado girl

Westminster, CO Police Chief Lee Birk announces the discovery of the body of missing Colorado girl Jessica Ridgeway on Friday.

One week after 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was reported missing, grim-faced state and local law enforcement officials announced Friday that a body found Wednesday was hers. “The focus has changed from the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica,” said Westminster, Colorado Police Chief Lee Birk, with “a great deal of sorrow” in his heart. “There is a predator at large in our community,” the chief said. Birk said investigators are putting all efforts into finding the killer and protecting the community and its children, whom he called “our most precious commodity.” The body, found near Pattridge Park Open Space in Arvada, Colorado was positively identified through DNA tests by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Officials had said they needed the tests for positive identification because the body was “not intact.” Jim Yacone with the FBI said, “The commitment with investigators will not waver. Our commitment to seek justice will only grow stronger.” A public crisis-counseling center at the Wells Fargo Building, 7878 Wadworth Blvd., was open until 8 p.m. on Friday and will be open again from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday to help advise worried parents and counsel anyone who needs someone to talk to. When Kimberly Bowman heard about Jessica’s disappearance, she started a Facebook page devoted to her search and to create a common place where the community could gather. After the news Friday, Bowman and others quickly organized a meeting place and command center at 9410 Wadsworth Parkway to comfort community members and many of the hundreds of volunteers who had been searching for the fifth-grader. Counselors from the crisis- counseling center joined the crowd, as did community pastors. Bowman said she and others are also organizing a balloon release Saturday.