Just weeks before 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was abducted and later brutally murdered, a man tried to lure two young boys to his car by offering candy, police say.
Police are now investigating whether the two nearby cases are linked, and whether a police sketch provided by the boys shows the face of Jessica’s killer.
“We need to solve it for justice for Jessica, and we need to solve it for children and families to feel safe,” says Jill McGranahan, spokesperson for the police in Arvada, Colo.
In the case of two “stranger danger” incidents, a young white man reportedly tried to entice the young boys into his blue sedan with sweets. In both cases, on Sept. 9 and Sept. 12, the boy ran to tell an adult, McGranahan says.
The “child enticements” are among hundreds of leads being investigated in the wake of the Ridgeway case.
The 4-foot-10-inch, 80-lb. girl disappeared at about 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 5, as she walked the few blocks from her home to a park where she usually met friends for a 1 1/2-mile walk to Witt Elementary School in Westminster, Colo.
Her backpack turned up two days later in a different city – Superior, Colo. – which investigators suspect may have been a ploy to confuse police.
Last Wednesday, Jessica’s dismembered body was discovered in an open area in Arvada, about seven miles from where she was abducted.
McGranahan says the discovery was also only about four miles from where the boys earlier encountered the man with candy.
Until these cases are solved, police are encouraging parents to walk their children to school, and when that’s not possible, to have younger children walk in groups with older children.
To tip police, contact (303) 658-4336 or PDAmberAlert@cityofwestminster.us.