Horrific End to Jessica Ridgeway Search Is Just the Beginning of Her Parents' Ordeal

This Just In 110

Jessica RidgewayIt's happened. The thing we most feared when we heard that 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway had disappeared on her walk to school more than a week ago. Police in Westminster, Colorado have confirmed that Jessica's parents will never see their little girl's beautiful smile again. Jessica Ridgeway is dead

That body police found earlier this week that they couldn't confirm was Jessica's because it wasn't intact? It does indeed belong to the missing fourth grader. But Sarah Ridgeway and Jeremy Bryant can't rest easy yet. Now the search for a little girl has been turned upside down. Those cops? They're out for blood now.

I can picture some of those men and/or women on the force, many probably parents themselves, their faces set with grim determination. They have a child to avenge, more children to protect. As Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said of his squad's new direction:

Our focus has changed from the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica. We recognize there is a predator at large in our community.

He's right. Of course he's right. That FBI profile of the suspect released this week is more important then ever now. This guy needs to be found for Jessica's sake and for the sake of all the children he could potentially hurt.

Still, I can't help but picture Jessica Ridgeway's parents. The police declaration that the body belongs to their daughter means their story is -- for all intents and purposes -- over. Their hope has been snuffed out. Now is a time when they begin to mourn little Jessica, to plan the funeral no parents should have to plan.

But somehow I doubt they'll get to do it all in peace, not now, not with the way this investigation is turning. Even the discovery of their daughter's body isn't going to end this nightmare for Jessica's parents. If anything, it's just about to ramp up.

Cops have made clear that Jeremy and Sarah are in the clear. They're not suspects. But as long as there is a suspect out there, this poor people are likely going to sit on edge, waiting for justice for their little girl. Not to mention the media hounds will be circling because, well, that's what they do.

These people have been to hell and back in a week. Is it too much to hope that they are left alone? That the fact that they're mourning their little girl is respected?

We can focus on the police all we want; they seem to be doing their darndest to find this sicko. But let's put ourselves in Jessica Ridgeway's parents' shoes and give them a rest, huh?

What are your thoughts on this turn in the case? What would you say to Jessica's parents if you could?


Image via Westminster Police

crime, death, missing person


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Jaime Trosper

It's kind of ironic to see a blogger from the stir saying the media hounds should leave these prarents alone since all you guys basically do is talk about things and people that are none of your business and upsetting to some. Food for thought.

Ikette Ikette

The sad part is, statistically speaking the person who did this knew the family. She knew her abductor.

Amanda Grunthaner

9 out of 10 children that are abducted know their attacker. Whether it be a family member or a neighbor that the child sees walking down the street everyday. The lucky part about this case is they already have a profile for this guy, now all they have to do is catch them. My heart and prayers go out to the family, may you have the strength to make it through this hardship and may the attacker rot behind bars for what he's done to this beautiful little girl.

Lisa Stitzel Brown

Such heartbreaking news, my deepest sympathies for the family.  As a mother, I can't even begin to imagine their pain right now.  I hope he police find the piece of garbage that did this and puts him where he belongs; in a hole in the ground.

Terra Childress

I feel horrible for this family but why was this little girl walking alone to school? I just dont understand. Dont people watch the news? Remember Jaycee Dugard?

Kaitlin Smith

Gee Terra, I don't know, maybe they had no car, maybe she was meeting up with her friends like she did everyday, I am sure they will ask themselves this horrible question everyday... WHY, Why did we her her walk?? They can ask themselves this question... YOU have no right to!!!

nonmember avatar Kellie

I have to agree with Terra C. Did her parents not watch the news and know the dangers of letting your child out of their sight in this crazy world? I don't care how "sleepy" and "safe" your community feels, I would NEVER let my children out of my sight. I know you can't shelter your kids forever but my 3 will not be w/o me until they're all 18. YES, I am a nervous/over-protective mother but look at the people out there that live amoungst us!! My deepest sympathy goes out to the parents!!

nonmember avatar melissa

I love my daughter a little more and hold her a little closer. I know I would never send a defenseless 10 yr old into the world alone where any adult can and will have the upper ( then put my phone purposely in the other side of the house so I can sleep uninterrupted for 8 hrs and not listen in case of emergency ) . Jessica normally took the bus. The bus put a fee on rides this year due to budget cuts. Jessica's mom didn't want to pay the fee and it was decided she could walk instead. I bet she wishes she had done things alot differently. From not keeping her phone on her in case ( giving the kidnapper 8+ hr s that no one knew she was missing) something happened, to not making sure her daughter made it safely, she could have prevented this. I hope parents put their childrens safety and lives before convenience and personal wants ( she did get her wish to sleep uninterrupted ) . It would have taken her a mere 15 min more to make sure her daughter made it to school. More kids around here are being protected and actually walked to school or driven by their family. ( I live blocks away from all this ) we all learned a lesson to care more. I will be going to the balloon release to give back some of the respect taken from her.

Terra Childress

Maybe i don't just stating a fact. I have two daughters myself. I just couldn't imagine letting them even outside alone because we live in a sick, sick world. Hopefully people will take something away from this story and walk with their children. I dont care if there are a group of 5 10 year olds walking to school together. That's WAY too young. They can't protect themselves! That's a parents job. 

Bianca Long

I just dont get why stuff like this happens. I for myself could never hurt anyone, much less a child. Its hard for me to fathom that there are people out there who take pleasure in hurting innocent little kids, but I suppose those people are out there or I wouldnt be reading this.

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