WESTMINSTER, Colo. — More than 200 people gathered Saturday to assist in the search for a 10-year-old girl who disappeared in Westminster Friday morning.
An Amber Alert, which is a national emergency notification, was issued late Friday for 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway who was last seen walking to school. She never made it there.
More than 200 people gathered at the Westview recreation center at 108th Ave. and Oak St. to help look for Jessica. They left in small groups and on buses to conduct their searches.
Metro dive teams started searching Ketner lake less than two miles from Ridgeway’s home Saturday afternoon.
Jessica Ridgeway was last seen in the area of 107th Ave. and Moore St. in Westminster.
She’s 4’10”, 80 lbs with blue eyes and blonde, shoulder length hair. She was wearing Blue jeans, a black puffy jacket with pink lining, purple eyeglasses and black boots with pom-poms.
Westminster police say Jessica was last seen leaving her home to walk to school at 8:30 a.m. Friday. She never made it to school.
There was a delay of several hours in reporting the girl missing. She lives with her mother, who works at night.
“Mom gets home about 7:30 a.m., gets her daughter ready for school, 8:30… sends her off,” says Westminster police spokesman investigator Trevor Materasso. “The normal procedure is Jessica walks to a park, meets classmates and they, as a group, walk to school.”
Jessica never made it to Chelsea Park, and the group walked to school without her. The School called her home to report her absent, but her mother sleeps during the day, and didn’t get the message until 4:30 p.m. That’s when she called police.
“Police were advised of a child custody dispute involving the father who lives out of state,” Materasso says. “Out of state police have been in contact with Jessica’s father and do not believe she is with him.”
“Police have conducted area searches of the trails, parks and open spaces in the surrounding area. Officers have also made door to door contact and notified approximately 12,775 residents by telephone. Jefferson County Schools notified over 400 faculty and parents from Witt Elementary students that Jessica is missing,” according to Materasso.
An overnight search involving 50 personnel failed to turn up any sign of Jessica. A bloodhound from the Adams County Sheriff’s Dept. was involved along with crews from the Rampart Search and Rescue Team. Westminster firefighters were searching with thermal equipment.
Police spokeswoman Cheri Spotke says a new team started searching about 7:15 a.m. Saturday.
Spotke says all the sex offenders in the area have been checked.
She says Jessica is a good child and a good students. Investigtors have talked to all of her classmates and friends to see if she went home with them. None of them have seen her.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children resealed this poster of Ridgeway Saturday afternoon.
Anyone with information can call Westminster police at 303-658-4360.