Police have arrested a 17-year-old Westminster, Colo., boy for the murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
Authorities arrested Austin Reed Sigg at his home late Tuesday night after receiving a tip. Sigg’s home is located about one mile from Jessica’s home. Investigators said early in the case that they believed the killer was someone who lived in the area.
Investigators said on Monday that they had established a link between a Memorial Day kidnapping attempt on a 22-year-old woman and Jessica’s murder. Police also issued photos of a small wooden cross they believed belonged to her assailant.
Police said on several occasions that they believed there was a link between the attack on the 22-year-old woman and Jessica’s case but it was not until Monday when they announced that they had “definitive evidence” that the cases were connected.
Residents in the neighborhood where Sigg lives said that police had been canvassing the area, asking questions and obtaining mouth swabs from them.
Jessica disappeared on Oct. 5 while on her way to meet a friend that she walked to school with. Five days later, police found her dismembered remains in a field in Arvada, Colo., some six miles from her home. Law enforcement officers from several agencies launched an intensive manhunt to find Jessica’s killer.
Police are now at the suspect’s home, apparently gathering more evidence, and have reportedly seized a dark colored SUV that was parked in the driveway of the home.
There has been no word from police on whether they believe Sigg could be involved in the other incidents of attempted child-luring in the area, including an incident where someone fitting Sigg’s description choked an 8-year-old boy at Ketner Lake earlier this year. This was also the location where the Memorial Day weekend attack took place.
This arrest comes on the heels of another Tuesday arrest. In Clayton, N.J., police arrested a pair of teenage siblings, early Tuesday, for the murder of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale. Authorities say the two brothers, ages 15 and 17, killed the girl and put her remains into a recycling bin. Investigators believe the boys killed her for her BMX bike. Police said that Autumn died from blunt-force trauma and strangulation. She had been missing since last Saturday.
“This is a significant step towards justice for Jessica. … We hope and pray that this arrest gives them (Jessica's family) some measure of closure in dealing with this horrible tragedy and loss that they have suffered. We hope also that know that an arrest was made in this case will help our community to rest a little easier," said Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk.
Since he is a juvenile, he is not on any sex-offender list and juvenile records are sealed. He is now being held at Mountain View Juvenile facility on charges of kidnapping, first-degree murder and attempted kidnapping, stemming from the Ketner Lake incident.
This is a developing story. More details will be provided as information becomes available.