A 17-year-old community college student has been arrested in the brutal murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway in Colorado, police announced Wednesday.
“This morning the Ridgeway family was notified of this arrest,” Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said. “We hope and pray this arrest gives them some measure of closure in dealing with their horrible loss and tragedy.”
Austin Reed Sigg was arrested late Tuesday night by officers acting on a tip that led them to a home near Ketner Lake, about two miles from where Ridgeway was abducted on Oct. 5. Her dismembered body was later found several miles away.
According to police documents, Sigg is a student at Arapahoe Community College. On March 23, he won second place in the Crime Scene Investigation division of the Health Occupation Students of America State Leadership conference competition.
Sigg’s arrest came a day after police said they had connected Ridgeway’s slaying with a Memorial Day attack at Ketner Lake by a young man who came up from behind a jogger and tried to cover her mouth with a chemical-smelling rag. They also reported that the suspect may have worn a small wooden cross found during the investigation.
Police said they would charge Sigg with the attempted abduction of the jogger, but mostly they were relieved to get the major break they’d been hoping for in the Ridgeway slaying, which devastated the community and instilled fears that the killer would strike again.
Roughly three dozen police agencies, including the FBI, have been working the case aggressively since Ridgeway disappeared.
Sigg’s mother said the boy turned himself in, according to an AP report. “I made the phone call, he turned himself in,” she said. “That’s all I have to say.”