The news in the case of missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway is confusing this morning. Police in Westminster, Colorado say they've found a body, but they won't say whose body they've found. It's led some to pump their fists in celebration, surely that means the remains don't belong to the fourth grader who disappeared Friday morning. But let's just hold off on the celebrating, OK?
The cops who called the news conference were quick to say, "We are unable to make a connection to the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway." So it's probably not Jessica. But do I really need to spell this out? OK, I will.
The police found a dead body in Colorado while searching for Jessica Ridgeway.
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If it's not Jessica -- which is where everything is pointing right now, despite some news reports to the contrary -- that's good news ... for Jessica and her family. Sadly it's still bad news for the guy or girl who was found, and for their family.
We tend to get so wrapped up in these missing child cases that anything that isn't about the child in particular gets dropped, ignored as we hyperfocus on the goal: getting this kid home. As a mother, I know the stories of missing kids haunt me long after I've shut down my computer or turned off the TV. I look at my own daughter and put myself in the shoes of people like Sarah Ridgeway and her ex-husband, Jeremy Bryant. I can only imagine they're in agony.
We're allowed a tinge of relief that a fourth grader is not dead. She's a fourth grader, after all, a 10-year-old girl, an innocent child.
But there is still a life lost, a family in mourning. Let's not let the case at hand overshadow that fact. Let's give this poor lost soul their due, at least for a moment, before returning our hearts to the family of little Jessica Ridgeway.
What was the feeling that came over you when the police said the body was not linked to Jessica's disappearance?
Image via Westminster Police