Police: Connection made between Ketner Lake attack and Jessica Ridgeway murder

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WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- In response to a FOX31 Denver Report aired Sunday night, Monday police confirmed there is a definite connection between the Jessica Ridgeway murder and an attempted abduction of a woman at Ketner Lake several months ago.

FOX31 Denver first reported exclusive new details about the Ridgeway murder investigation showing investigators are making progress in finding her killer. Though initially police declined to comment on the story, after the story aired, police confirmed many of the details aired by FOX31 Denver.

In the days after she vanished, investigators asked the public to stop looking at what the 10-year-old girl was wearing when she vanished, and pay more particular attention to her facial features.

“She has a gap in-between her front teeth,” said Westminster police investigator Trevor Materasso.

Sources say the reason police asked the public to change their focus is because when they found Ridgeway’s book bag after her disappearance, many of her clothes were inside.

The book bag and Ridgeway’s remains are the two connections police may have to a possible suspect.

Two separate sources familiar with the investigation told FOX 31 Denver’s Justin Joseph, during the investigation into those two items, they recovered a man’s DNA. Sources say investigators matched that DNA to the DNA police recovered during an attempted attack on an adult female earlier this year.

Monday, in response to FOX31 Denver’s report, police confirmed a “definitive” link to an attack on a jogger at Ketner Lake at the end of May. Police declined to say whether that link was DNA to protect the integrity of the investigation.

That case remains unsolved.

The victim in the Ketner Lake incident provided a description of her attacker:
— White male
— 18-30 years old
— 5’6″-5’8″ tall
— Average build
— Brown hair

The link suggests the killer’s behavior may be escalating targeting both women and children.

The DNA link also explains why police have gone door-to-door in Jessica’s neighborhood collecting DNA samples.

Another source directed us to a home in Denver last week where police were arresting a registered sex-offender on unrelated warrants. That offender was then described as a person-of-interest in the investigation and DNA was taken from him.

A week later, he does not appear to be linked to the Ridgeway investigation.

According to employees at a local grocery story, police discovered two receipts discovered in an open field near where Ridgeway’s remains were placed.

Portions of Ridgeway’s remains were found on a black garbage bag, though it is unclear whether her remains were once inside. One of the two receipts had garbage bags as an item purchased on it.

The receipts were traced to a King Soopers near W.100th and Wadsworth Blvd., just a few miles from Jessica’s home.

Employees at the store, who Fox 31 Denver is not identifying because they are not authorized to speak on the matter, tell reporter Justin Joseph police and security guards spent days going through four months of surveillance video trying to find images of the person who bought the garbage bags.

The cashier who sold the garbage bags to the person tells Fox 31 Denver she has no specific memory of either the transaction or the man. She says she was shown the two receipts by police and says the receipts were “long” and one was in the amount of $60.

The cashier did not see the date of the receipt which she says was photocopied by police and presented to her.

Another employee says police told her the receipts were connected to the Ridgeway investigation.

“They said the receipts were found near Ridgeway’s body,” the employee said.

Monday police confirmed they did visit the King Soopers to investigate the receipts. They dispute the employees report that the two receipts were found in the field. Police now say the two receipts are not connected to the investigation.

Sunday afternoon, about a mile from where Jessica Ridgeway’s remains were found, someone walking in a field made an unsettling discovery.

Police closed the field off in crime-scene tape and performed a grid search removing bags of evidence.

A source familiar with the investigation said the person discovered a clump of blond hair. Police initially refused to comment on the discovery. Monday Police confirmed FOX31 Denver’s report that hair was discovered though they can’t say whether it is connected to the Ridgeway investigation.

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.

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