10.24.12

Arrest Made in Jessica Ridgeway’s Murder

Police plan to charge 17-year-old Austin Reed Sigg with the murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway. Christine Pelisek reports on the arrest—and its link to an attempted abduction in May.

Two weeks after 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway’s dismembered body was found in a field in Colorado, police have arrested the alleged killer of the fifth grader.

“I am pleased to announce we have taken a significant step forward today towards justice for Jessica,” said Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk. “We hope and pray this arrest will give her family a small measure of closure.”

Police received the major break in the case on Tuesday evening when they received a tip that led them to the home of 17-year-old Austin Reed Sigg. Sigg, who waived his rights and spoke to the police, was arrested this morning on suspicion of two counts of murder in the first degree and two counts of criminal attempt for murder and kidnapping. According to local media reports, Sigg may have confessed to his mother, who told him to contact the police.

According to court papers, Sigg's mother Mindy filed for bankruptcy in May of 2012. She reported that she was a single mother who lives with her two sons, ages 14 and 17, and received $2,000 a month in child support. She is employed as a tech at Complete Eye Care, according to the papers. In the papers, Sigg reported that she owned a .9 mm Glock, a 380 Taurus Pistol, and three rifles. It is unclear if the weapons were used by Sigg to lure Ridgeway into his car.

Brooke Olds, a neighbor of Sigg's, told ABC 7 that Sigg was "very shy and kept to himself and was constantly around girls."

Sigg was also arrested on one count of second-degree kidnapping for the attempted abduction of a 22-year-old woman who was tackled in a park near Ketner Lake close to where Jessica lived, on May 28. The woman was jogging along a path when someone attacked her around 1:15 p.m. on Memorial Day weekend. The woman was able to get free from her attacker and call the police. She told police that her attacker tried to cover her mouth with a rag with a chemical substance on it.

A law-enforcement source who asked not to be identified told The Daily Beast that Jessica’s case was positively linked through DNA evidence to the Ketner Lake attempted abduction in May.

Sigg, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds, lives in a white-brick, two-storey home in Westminster, just over a mile from Chelsea Park, where Jessica disappeared during a two-block walk to meet friends on their way to Witt Elementary School in Westminster, a northwest suburb of Denver on Oct. 5.

Sigg lives just over a mile from the Chelsea Park where Jessica disappeared during a two-block walk to meet friends on their way to school on Oct. 5.

Jessica, who was dressed in a black jacket and jeans and wearing pink-and-purple eyeglasses on the day of her disappearance, never arrived. A week later, on the same day authorities ruled out her parents as suspects, her dismembered body was found in a park in the Denver suburb of Arvada, about seven miles from her home. It's unclear if Sigg knew Jessica and her family or just abducted her on a whim when he saw her walking alone.

Police had more than 4,000 tips since Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk warned that a “predator” was at large in the community. On Friday, police released a photo of a wooden cross that was discovered by police during the investigation. Police, who have swarmed the inside of his house, impounded a gray SUV earlier today.

Sigg, who attended Standley Lake High School, placed second in biotechnology and was a finalist in a CSI category in a leadership conference hosted by the Health Occupations Students of America in March. In 2012, Sigg was enrolled at Warren Tech, a continuing education high school, that offers forensic science courses. He was also reportedly enrolled at Arapahoe Community College.

Sigg’s first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 25.