Police have arrested a teenage boy in the kidnapping and killing of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway of Colorado, and authorities said he is also suspected of trying to kidnap a jogger in May.
The 17-year-old, whose name was withheld by The Times because he is a juvenile, was booked on suspicion of murder, kidnapping, and attempted kidnapping and murder in the two cases, Westminster Police Investigator Trevor Materasso said at a televised news conference.
“We hope knowing that an arrest has been made can cause our community to rest a little easier and sleep a little better,” Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said at the news conference. “I believe we have taken a significant step toward justice for Jessica.”
Police said they received a tip Tuesday night that led them to a home near Ketner Lake Open Space, a reservoir in Westminster, where the teenager was arrested. Police released no other details about the case.
He is a student at Arapahoe Community College, according to his arrest report.
He lived only miles away from the Ridgeway family and not far from Ketner Lake, where police said he tried to abduct a female jogger Memorial Day weekend. His home was being searched Wednesday.
Ridgeway vanished Oct. 5 on her way to school. Her remains were discovered in a field about 10 miles away.
“Justice for Jessica is a process and this is the beginning of that process,” Jefferson County Dist. Atty. Scott Storey said at the conference. “Charges will be filed within the next couple of days and then we start a different process.”
The suspect was booked into a youth detention facility Wednesday. It is not know whether he will be charged as an adult.
The Ridgeway family has kept a brave face throughout the ordeal, said family friend and Grace Church of Arvada Pastor Rick Long.
“I have seen in 27 years of ministry very few people whose strength, courage and resolve has been stronger than this family,” Long told the Los Angeles Times. “They’re doing as well as you could expect. They’re very grateful for everything and that everybody has given and reached out.”