I’m signed up to receive Amber Alert messages on my cell and I'm in Colorado, on Friday October 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm I received the following message. AMBER ALERT: Westminster, CO CHILD: 10 years – old White F 4 feet 10inches 80 pounds Eyes: Blue Hair: Shoulder Length Blonde CALL 303-658-4360. These alerts are always frightening and they always cause me to hop on social media to spread the word to my friends and family because I figure the more eyes out there the better especially if the missing child lives in a nearby area. Usually when I receive an alert it is cancelled not long after because the child has been found. In many cases an Amber Alert usually involves a situation with a family member in a custody dispute, or a child that has run or wandered off and has then been located. When this happens I receive a CANCEL AMBER ALERT and offer up a little prayer of thanks. I had never received a cancelled alert because the body of a missing child had been found and when I did the experience was heartbreaking and devastatingly final. The child was Jessica Ridgeway a 10 year old girl from Westminster Colorado, who according to her mother went missing on her way to school on the morning of Friday October 5. Jessica was also involved in a custody dispute between her mother, who she lived with and her father who lives in Missouri. Both parents have been ruled out as suspects.
The facts as they currently stand are that Jessica’s mother who works nights arrived home from her shift right near the time that Jessica was up and preparing for school. Jessica lived in the house with her grandmother, mother and aunt. Jessica then left for school walking to a nearby park, Chelsea Park in Westminster Colorado to meet with the group of friends that she always walked to school with. According to the friends Jessica never showed up so they left for school without her. Somewhere between her home and the park she is purported to have been abducted. Her mother had gone to bed after Jessica left and was not awake to receive the voice message from police that her daughter had not shown up for school and by the time she awoke and received the message it was late afternoon and only at that time was an Amber Alert finally issued. So already several hours had gone by before an intensive search was launched. Two days later on Sunday October 7 Jessica’s backpack and water bottle were found on a sidewalk in a neighborhood six miles northwest of her home, three days later on Wednesday October 10 a dismembered body was found in a park seven miles west of Jessica’s home authorities had been led there based on a tip.
Two days later, so yesterday Friday October 12 it was announced that DNA tests confirmed that the body was Jessica’s. I also received the following message on my cell phone: CANCEL AMBER ALERT: Westminster, CO CHILD: 10 years – old White F 4 feet 10inches 80 pounds Eyes: Blue Hair: Shoulder Length Blonde CALL 303-658-4360.
Jessica was probably making plans for Halloween and just beginning to really settle into the new school year when someone decided that they had the right to abduct her, then murder her taking her away from her home and from the people who loved her. Authorities and communities here in Colorado are now concerned that there is a human predator on the loose, they’ve said as much and their number one priority is to now seek justice for Jessica and to prevent this from happening to another child. They have released a profile of what to look for in an individual who may have been involved. The individual would be male, would have maybe missed appointments or work during the past week, may be acting differently from how they normally behave, and may have done something to change their appearance and may have been seen detailing a vehicle. All these signs can be taken in part or as a whole to identify someone who may end up being a neighbor, coworker, friend or family member. The authorities are asking people be vigilant to these signs and to report any suspicions.
Whoever has committed such a crime must be a seriously damaged human being and is an obvious danger to others as long as they are still on the loose. I hope and pray that this individual is found soon, I also hope and pray that measures are put in place so that the extremely effective system of Amber Alert is allowed to do its job within minutes of a child missing not hours. And I hope that all of you will take a moment to say a silent pray for the suffering that this crime has caused Jessica but and those who knew and loved her. Also if you have friends or family in Colorado please reach out and spread the word about the profile that the authorities have put together. If you too wish to receive Amber Alerts in your area you can sign up your cell by going to http://www.amberalert.gov/