0 'I didn't do anything': Parents of missing Colorado girl, 10, deny involvement in her disappearance five days after she vanished on her way to scho
The parents of a 10-year-old Colorado girl who has been missing since last Friday spoke out for the first time on Tuesday, denying any involvement in her disappearance.
'I know I didn't do anything. Everybody that's here knows I didn't do anything,' said Jessica Ridgeway's mother, Sarah, surrounded by relatives dressed in purple - her daughter's favorite color.
She added, 'Nobody in this room did anything to harm her or a tiny hair on her little head.'
Speaking out: Sarah Ridgeway, right, and Jeremiah Bryant, left, both said they had nothing to do with their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, going missing on her way to school last Friday
Sticking together: Jessica Ridgeway's family appeared dressed in her favorite color - purple - to issue the first public statement since her disappearance
Sarah Ridgeway was joined by ten family members, among them her ex-husband, Jeremiah Bryant, who said that when questioned by the FBI if his former spouse could have anything to do with the 10-year-old's disappearance, he said 'no.'
'I don't see how any parent could do something like that to their child,' Bryant added, according to kdvr.com/2012/10/09/family-of-jessica-ridgeway-makes-first-p.
Appearing composed for most of the 38-minute-long pubic statement, the girl's mother told a reporter that she understands that police need to conduct an investigation before they eliminate her from the list of potential suspects.
'I know it's something that has to get done,' she said. 'The have to get it out of there.'
Ridgeway and Bryant have been locked in custody battle at the time their 10-year-old daughter went missing last Friday.
Police have released pictures and a home video of Jessica Ridgeway in the hope of jogging the memory of anyone who may have seen her since she vanished on the way to her school in Colorado five days ago.
Gone: Police have released new pictures and a video of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway who went missing Friday morning after leaving her Westminster, Colorado, home to go to school
Warning: Police are urging the public to examine Jessica's face closely and remember that she may not be wearing her red and blue glasses at this point
Drawing attention to a small gap between her two front teeth and a sore on the top of her nose below where her glasses sit, they suggested she may not even still be wearing her spectacles.
A police spokesman also advised people to consider that although she was last seen wearing blue jeans, black boots with pom poms and a black puffy jacket, by this time she could have changed into other clothing.
The video is a self-made effort filmed by the 10-year-old as she tries to entice her puppy to sit still so it can be on camera with her.
Ridgeway disappeared Friday morning on her way to school but an amber alert was not issued until the evening when her mother woke up after recovering from a night shift the night before and realised she was gone.
A massive search operation was launched involving more than 50 officers from four different jurisdictions, including the FBI, accompanied by a bloodhound.
Ridgeway was last seen leaving her Westminster home at 8:30am to walk to Chelsea Park just three blocks away, where she was supposed to meet up with friends for the walk to school. But the 10-year-old never made it there.
Her backpack and water bottle have been found in the neighboring town of Superior.
Sweet: The 10-year-old was last seen on Friday wearing blue jeans, black boots with pom poms and a black puffy jacket
Mystery: Police say they have received about 300 phone calls and email with tips so far and are not yet looking at abduction as a cause of her disappearance
When Jessica failed to show up for class at Witt Elementary School by 10am, police called the girl's home and left a voicemail, but her mother, who works nights, was asleep at the time and didn’t get the message.
It was not until nearly eight hours later that the mother woke up and got the message. During the press conference on Tuesday, Sarah Ridgeway recalled that as soon as she heard her daughter failed to show in class, she knew at once that something was wrong.
'Jessica loves school,' Sarah said. 'I checked some of the places I knew she wouldn’t be just to make sure. But I knew if she wasn’t at school, something was wrong.'
The girl lives with her mother, grandmother and aunt at 10768 Moore Street in the town of nearly 13,000.
‘Mom gets home about 7:30 a.m., gets her daughter ready for school, 8:30… sends her off,’ Materasso said. ‘The normal procedure is Jessica walks to a park, meets classmates and they, as a group, walk to school.’
But when the girl failed to make it to the meeting spot, her classmates went to school without her. At around 4:30pm, Ridgeway’s mother woke up and heard the message from police saying that her daughter was missing.
Family problems: Jessica's mother and father have been locked in a custody dispute over the little girl after the couple separated
Keeping faith: Jessica's family sported purple and green - the girl's favorite colors - and said that they are waiting for her return
Bloodhounds and thermal equipment were used as a search party consisting of family, friends and about 50 officers searched the area of 108th Street and Moore Street, www.kktv.com/home/headlines/10-Year-Old-Westminster-Girl-Mis. After finding no trace of the child, an Amber Alert was issued at 9:20 p.m.
Ridgeway recalled the morning her daughter went missing. The mother described her 10-year-old as a girl who could hardly wait to be a teenager, and who was craving independence.Ridgeway remembered hearing the alarm clock going off at 7:45am and seeing her daughter coming down the stairs, watching TV, eating a granola bar and walking out the front door.
‘It was like any other morning,’ Sarah said, breaking down in tears. ‘I watched her walk out the door. Her friend says she’s walking too. That was the last time I saw her.
‘I want her to walk back through that door. I need her to walk back through that door,’ she added.
Jessica’s family extended family described her as a giggly, bubbly girl who would light up the room and bring laughter with her jokes.
‘Jessica is the light of our life. She’s a special girl,’ her great aunt Gay Moore said. ‘She’s a special girl.’
The girl’s mother added, ‘[Jessica's] my rock. She's all of our rock. When you're down, she'll come around, make you laugh, hug [and] kiss [you or] dance.’
Sarah Ridgeway considered signing Jessica up for the newly introduced bus service to school, but instead, the 10-year-old made plans to walk to class with her older cousin. The mother said she did not oppose to it because their neighborhood has always been safe and child-friendly.
Home: The girl lives with her mother, grandmother and aunt at 10768 Moore Street in the town of nearly 13,000
Hunt: Denis McLaughlin leads his search and rescue dog through a field of tall grass searching for Jessica Ridgeway near her home in Westminster on Monday
Persistence: Search and rescue teams have not given up hope and police are asking that anyone who might have even a shred of knowledge to step forward
The discovery of the backpack and water bottle came after a day and a half of searching that yielded precious few leads.
Police and volunteers scoured vast tracts of land, including fields and lakes, overnight in search of the missing girl. Officers continued canvassing the Westminster community and handing out fliers in hopes of tracking down the 10-year-old.
On Saturday morning, more than 500 volunteers gathered at the Westview Recreation Center,which was turned into a temporary police command center, to help look for Jessica, according to www.9news.com/dontmiss/293151/630/Police-volunteers-search-f.
Ridgeway's neighbor, Sarah Johnston, told the station www.koaa.com/news/amber-alert-issued-for-missing-girl-228081 she's very concerned about the safety of the missing 10-year-old.
‘It's really hard to wonder what could go on,’ Johnston said. ‘She is over at our house all the time. [I] just really miss her.’
The girl’s disappearance comes three weeks after students at a school in nearby Arvada school saw a man in a dark sedan trying to lure kids closer to his vehicle.
The www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21714407/overnight-search reported that police are reviewing past incidents for a possible connection including the attempted abduction on Labor Day of a 22-year-old female jogger at Ketner Lake in Westminster.
The woman's assailant was described as white, about five-feet-eight with brown hair and an average build.
Search effort: Dozens of police officers accompanied by a bloodhound scoured the area tirelessly in hopes of finding the missing girl on Friday night when an amber alert was issued
Operation: Officers went door-to-door handing out fliers with Jessica's photo to her neighbors on Friday night
Precedent: The girl's disappearance comes three weeks after students at a school in nearby Arvada saw a man in a dark sedan trying to lure kids
Meanwhile, FBI is investigating if Jessica’s disappearance may be linked to the abduction of an 11-year-old in Wyoming, some 500 miles away.
On Monday afternoon, a girl in Cody, Wyoming, was lured to a white SUV by a man who approached her and two friends. He told them that he was missing his black Labrador puppy and asked if they could help him find it, police told abcnews.go.com/US/wyoming-abduction-related-jessica-ridgeway.
One of the girls agreed to help him and climbed into the front seat of the vehicle, which then sped away.
An Amber Alert was issued around 6:45 p.m. and police received a report less than two hours later of a little girl walking just outside Cody. Authorities confirmed that it was the missing girl.
‘[The girl] reported that when she approached the suspect vehicle, the suspect brandished a “pistol” and directed her to get in the front passenger seat of the vehicle,’ the Cody Police Department wrote in a report. ‘The suspect then drove the victim onto Carter Mountain where he sexually assaulted her.’
Jessica Ridegway has been described as a blonde, blue-eyed girl standing at four-feet-10 and weighing 80lbs.
Read more: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2215293/I-know-I-didnt-Pare
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