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Search under way for Jessica Ridgeway's killer

By Lindsay Watts, Weekend GMC Anchor/Target 13 Investigator , l.watts@krdo.com
Published On: Oct 12 2012 05:13:14 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 13 2012 06:05:38 AM CDT

A search is underway for a dangerous predator after police identify a mutilated body found in Arvada as missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -

A search is under way for a dangerous predator after police identify a mutilated body found in Arvada as missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.

"We realize there is a predator at large in our community," said Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk. "Our focus has changed from the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica."

There are no suspects at this point. FBI analysts said they believe the killer is a man.

"It could be your boss, it could be your friend, and ultimately it could be your family member," FBI spokesman Dave Joly said. "We suspect someone in the community knows this individual."

Police said to be especially watchful for someone who's recently changed his behavior or appearance, suddenly left town, or has been missing work or commitments.

Police said hundreds of local, state and federal officers are working this case. Since Jessica went missing, they've searched 500 homes, more than 1,000 cars and responded to 1,500 tips from the public.

Jessica was last seen alive on Friday Oct. 5 when she left for school in the morning.

Her body was found Wednesday in the Pattridge Park open space in Arvada, about seven miles from her home in Westminster. Authorities said it took several days to identify the girl because the body was not intact.

Anyone with information about this case should call 303-658-4336. To donate to Jessica's family click here.

Some Colorado Springs residents are planning a balloon release for Jessica Saturday at noon in America the Beautiful Park.

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