Since police in Westminster, Colorado confirmed that missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was murdered, there's a question that's been hanging out in my brain. Maybe you've wondered it too. Was there a serial killer going after kids in that area? Police think they might have an answer to that in the form of an important new lead, and it's not the answer anyone wanted to hear.
Local cops working with the FBI to try to solve Jessica's murder and set local families worried about their own kids at ease have released details of a crime that occurred back on Memorial Day. They think the two might be linked. Only the first crime didn't involve a kid like Jessica.
Cops are looking for a man they say tried to grab a 22-year-old woman as she jogged around a lake about a half mile from the home Jessica shared with mom Sarah Ridgeway. The woman reported having a rag put to her face that smelled of chemicals. Fortunately, she got away. But cops say the same thing happened to another jogger two years ago in the same area. That woman's scream scared the assailant off.
So what does this have to do with Jessica? The proximity to her home is obvious. And the cops and FBI are sure to know a little more about this, sure to have a reason to be spreading the details of this May attack.
But -- forgive me for watching a little too much Criminal Minds here -- linking these two crimes is unsettling ... at best. What the cops are essentially saying here is they may have a criminal who doesn't stick to victim "type." If it's the same assailant -- and we don't know that it is, although the cops are really pushing this lead -- he moved on from adult women to a little girl.
That explains why parents like Jessica's mom felt safe letting their kids walk to school. There was no warning of someone going after kids.
But it also makes this guy harder for profilers to understand, harder for police to catch.
Their best bet now is for someone who saw something -- either the day of Jessica's disappearance or the day of that jogger's attack -- to say something. Anyone who saw a light-skinned man, between 18 and 30 years old (although cops say he could be older because he was wearing a ball cap) with a medium build who is somewhere around 5’6″ to 5’8″ tall needs to call police.
Because if he's changed type once, who knows what he'll do now.
Are you still following this case now that Jessica's body has been found? What do you think of the police announcement?
Image via Westminster Police