Police want public’s help with possible lead in Jessica Ridgeway investigation
WESTMINSTER, Colo. — It’s an attempted kidnapping that happened four-and-a-half months ago in Westminster.
Now, police wonder if that suspect is connected to the abduction and killing of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
On May 28, Memorial Day, a man grabbed a woman jogging at Ketner Lake Open Space.
Now, investigators want the public to think back to that holiday weekend — it could help catch a killer.
“It was very scary for me,” says mom Amy Graham, who spent Thursday night watching her son play football at Kensington Park, next to Ketner Lake.
She says since Memorial day, she’s become even more watchful of herself there.
“I used to frequently run around the lake by myself or with the dogs. After that happened, where the woman was attacked, I haven’t run around the lake once by myself,” she says.
On Memorial Day, about 1:15 p.m., a man came up behind a 22-year-old jogger, put a rag over her face that smelled of chemicals. But she fought him off and ran away.
Police say a man with a similar description grabbed another jogger in the same open space in July 2010. That victim says she thinks her screams scared him off.
Trevor Materasso, Westminster Police spokesman, says investigators want people to think back to Memorial Day.
He says they now wonder if that man could have abducted Ridgeway because of the close proximity of the two crimes.
“We’re now asking the community, particularly those who work, live or have family and friends in that area, to narrow their thought about who they may be looking for,” says Materasso.
The suspect is a light-skinned man, between 18 and 30 years old — although he could be older because he was wearing a ball cap. He’s got a medium build and is not very tall, 5’6″ to 5’8″ tall.
“We’re asking people to think back. Was there anything out of character? Did someone not show up, or behave oddly during get-togethers or gatherings? Did you happen to be walking around the trails or open space and notice somebody just had an odd look about them? Something that now stands out as suspicious?” says Materasso.
Neighbors say they’re relieved police are working every angle, because their lives have become much more cautious.
“After these incidents, we’ve become more alert and observant. We try to walk together as often as we can,” says neighbor Kirk Johnson.
And for some, this part of the investigation potentially opens the pool of potential victims wide open.
“In some ways help me feel a little bit more positive. But it also makes me more afraid. That tells me not only has this person potentially gone after a child, they’ve gone potentially after an adult,” says Graham.
Police say they never used a sketch in the Memorial Day case because they say sketches can cause confusion.
But they are reinterviewing that victim, and the one from two years ago.
Police say they have worked more than 4,000 tips in the Ridgeway case so far.
Jessica disappeared 2 weeks ago while she walked to school. Her body was found not intact in a field at Pattridge Park Open Space in Arvada a few days later.
If you have any information regarding the investigation, Westminster police are asking you to call the tip line at 303-658-4336, or email PDamberalert@cityofwestminster.us.