Have you been keeping up with the search for missing 10-year-old Colorado girl Jessica Ridgeway? It's already day five of the search, five days since the little girl left for school and didn't come back. With only the discovery of her backpack to go on, it's no wonder the cops are making an unusual plea to the public.
The cops in Westminster, Colorado -- who are now looking at Jessica's disappearance as an abduction rather than a runaway -- say they don't really care about the usual details released in an alert for a missing child. What she's wearing is off the table. What's on the table are some facial features very particular to Jessica.
They've released several photos of Jessica along with a family video, and they're asking people to really take a good, long, hard look at what they see:
She has a gap between her two front teeth. When you see that video, it's fairly obvious and a distinguishing characteristic. As well, she's got a sore at the top of her nose just below where her glasses sit. That sore doesn't heal, so it's a good indicator. If you see someone you think is Jessica those two things are good to pay particular attention to.
Obviously you hope the cops know what they're doing, but I can't be more impressed with the officials in Jessica's case for making this distinction. Too often the details the members of the media (myself included) spread, hoping we're helping the investigation, are either vague or easily changed.
Who cares if they were wearing a red shirt? Don't you think an abductor would know that? Even hair color can be easily changed.
And I hate to say it, but as the mother of an elementary schooler, I'll admit that kids' faces tend to run together after awhile, at least when you're talking generic details: hair color, eye color, glasses.
But these details about Jessica won't change, and they're distinctive enough to give people who want to help something solid to work with. Now we just need to get them out there to enough people to help get this poor little kid home to her sad family.
If you know anything about what happened to Jessica after she left her mom on Friday morning to make the three-block walk to school, call the Westminster Police at 303-658-4336 or email PDamberalert@cityofwestminster.us. If you don't, keep this information moving!
What do you think of the details that have been released? Will you be sharing them?
Image via Westminster Police