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Overnight search fails to find 10-year-old Westminster girl

About 50 Westminster police officers and firefighters searched unsuccessfully through the night for a 10-year-old girl who disappeared during a three-block walk to school.

Jessica Ridgeway’s mother stood in front of their home Friday morning and watched until the girl was out of sight on her way to Witt Elementary School, 10255 W. 104th Drive, said Cheri Spottke, Westminster police spokeswoman. That was 8:30 a.m.

Jessica routinely meets a classmate and they walk the rest of the way to school, but on Friday morning the friend never saw Jessica, Spottke said.

An Amber Alert, which is a national emergency notification, went out late last night after Westminster police were contacted.

“It’s very concerning,” Spottke said. “She is still a young child. Mom is very distraught.”

Jessica is 4 feet 10 inches tall with blond shoulder-length hair. She has blue eyes and was wearing a black jacket and pink and purple glasses.

Spottke said police and firefighters went door-to-door along the route from Jessica’s house to the school, asking residents for permission to search inside their homes and in their yards.

All but a few people complied, she said. Some people said they have small children and asked authorities to return the next morning when the kids were awake to search, she said. In other cases, no one was home.

“We searched all night,” Spottke said at 7:15 a.m. “We’ve switched up teams and we’re going out again right now.”

The second shift of searchers will return to the homes where nobody was found.

Authorities have checked up on every registered sex offender in the area to confirm their location.

The search didn’t begin until the mother awoke at around 4:30 p.m. and got the message from Witt Elementary that Jessica hadn’t arrived at school.

Officials contacted the child’s father, who lives in another state.

“At this time we don’t have any indication he is involved in any way,” Spottke said.

Jessica is a good child and a good student, she said. Officials contacted every child in her class and all friends to see if she may have gone to one of their homes, but there was no sign of her.

Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206, Facebook.com/kmitchelldp or http://blogs.denverpost.com/coldcases

Article source: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21714407/overnight-search-fails-find-10-year-old-westminster

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