Student, 17, arrested in Jessica Ridgeway killing
Austin Reed Sigg, 17, was arrested this morning.
October 24th, 2012
06:50 PM ET

Student, 17, arrested in Jessica Ridgeway killing

Editor's note: A 17-year-old student was arrested Tuesday evening in this month's killing of 10-year-old Denver-area girl Jessica Ridgeway, according to police in Westminster, Colorado.

Austin R. Sigg, who lived not far from Ridgeway, will be charged as an adult in her death and in a separate, attempted abduction in May, authorities say.

[Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET] One of Ridgeway's great-grandmothers, Donna Moss of Independence, Missouri, told CNN affiliate KSHB that she wouldn't be able to look in the suspect's face "and not be judgmental."

"It's all I've got within me to not want to just burn him. And I mean burn him," Moss told KSHB on Wednesday.

"For me, my steps have to be one step at a time to forgiveness," Moss said. "Because yes, I am really angry."

[Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET] The student arrested in Ridgeway's death, 17-year-old Austin R. Sigg, will be tried as an adult, Jefferson County District Attorney Pam Russell said Wednesday.

Charges probably will be filed on Monday, Russell said. Authorities said earlier that Sigg, who was arrested Tuesday night, will face murder and kidnapping charges in death of Ridgeway, who is from Westminster in the Denver area. Sigg also will be charged with attempted kidnapping and attempted murder charges regarding allegations that he tried to abduct someone else on May 28 at Ketner Lake in Westminster.

Sigg and Ridgeway lived about one mile apart, on opposite sides of Ketner Lake, CNN affiliate KMGH reported.

Ridgeway, also from Westminster, was last seen alive by her mother as the girl left for school October 5. A body was found days later at a park just five miles from Westminster, and police identified it as Ridgeway's on October 12.

Hundreds of volunteers had searched fields and streets, posted fliers and canvassed neighborhoods since news broke of the girl's disappearance. Hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement officers also worked the case.

Earlier Wednesday, police had said Sigg was arrested on Wednesday. They later corrected themselves, saying he'd actually been apprehended Tuesday evening.

[Updated at 2:44 p.m. ET] We can now report that the 17-year-old suspect is Austin Reed Sigg.

While CNN does not normally show the booking photo or name suspects who are juveniles, police mentioned Sigg's name and released his photograph in hopes the public could provide information related to the case.

Jessica Ridgeway, 10, was last seen by her mother.

[Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET] Jessica Ridgeway's family was told this morning that an arrest was made in the 10-year-old's death, police said.

"We hope and pray that this arrest gives them some measure of closure in dealing with this horrible loss and tragedy they have suffered,"  Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk told reporters.

Charges will officially be filed in the next couple of days, officials said.

The 17-year-old suspect was arrested on preliminary charges including two counts of first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping in the Ridgeway case. He also faces a charge of attempted murder and attempted abduction related to a May 28 kidnapping attempt near Ketner Lake.

A warrant is currently being served on the suspect's home.

The  suspect will have his first court appearance Thursday at 8 a.m.

[Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET] A 17-year-old student has been arrested in the murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, according to a Westminster, Colorado, police report.

The report says the student is charged with first degree murder and second degree kidnapping.

CNN is not naming the suspect or showing his mugshot until we can determine whether he is being charged as an adult or a juvenile.

[Posted at 1:32 p.m. ET] Police in Westminster, Colorado, arrested someone today in connection with the Jessica Ridgeway murder case.

Jessica, 10, was last seen by her mother as she left for school October 5. Her body was found last week at a park in Arvada, a Denver suburb five miles from Westminster.

"Late Tuesday evening police received a call that led them to a home near the Ketner Lake Open Space," police said in a press release.

That visit allowed police to make an arrest in the Ridgeway case, as well as another case, an attempted abduction near Ketner Lake.

That's all we know right now. Police will have a news conference at 2 p.m. ET. We'll be sure to update you as soon as we have more information.

soundoff (530 Responses)
  1. miggs

    Glad they caught this damn fool. Poor thing, I feel so bad for her family, to have to endure so much pain in the loss of thier child. I hope they are able to find some kind of peace with it all one day.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Imminent

    Can't say it enough – successful parents are involved in your children's lives. You SHOULD know as much about them as possible. If you can't control them, hand them over to juvenile custody. It's better they be raised by strangers than not raised by anyone at all. That said, we are ALL responsible for our kids till they turn 18 and move out. If you're one of those people that think it's impossible to ensure you raised good children, you've already failed as a parent or an adult.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pmtooley

    Kinda looks like Robert Pattinson

    October 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. scranton

    Glad they caught him. Hopefully he will serve life.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anchorite

    Where are the folks pointing out how all white people are animals or sarcastically remarking that Christians claims to be "a religion of peace?"

    October 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouSirAreABigot

      You sir are a bigot!

      October 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alex

    So have they stated the evidence that shows that this kid actually did it??

    October 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. steve

    Seems to be a lot of teenagers as suspects lately.....Seems they want to be commiting "big boy" crimes...let them get "big boy" sentences.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    Emmanuel Goldstein... There are lots of news sites that have released the photos of the two black kids in NJ... Your bias is almost as bad as CNN's.....

    October 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emmanuel Goldstein

      I will let my African-American wife know how racist I am when she gets home from work, lol.

      October 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sonia

    i've read posts like this many times before and it proves every time there is a white criminal mercy is often express for that suspect. when it is a black suspect the media and the public condemns him or her to the earliest and worst possible death right away! this shows that this country is still dominated by racial prejudices and it is a very ignorant concept.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      Did you forget you already posted this nonsense BS?

      October 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Zeus

    I understand the passions involved here, but seriously people....let the justice system work. I know it sometimes doesn't, but all this talk about kill him, and hang him, etc etc is frighteningly ignorant. We have a judicial system. We have laws regarding burdens of proof and evidence, and ignoring these laws would just make us as bad as the people oversees that we all condemn. Stop with all the stupid machismo statements. You would let the police do their job, just like millions have. As to the death penalty.....folks....do NOT use money as an excuse. It is MORE expensive to execute someone than to try them and imprison them for life. AND...they suffer MORE in prison. This girl is gone. Its awful. But let's not turn into a bunch of drooling idiots, waiting for the stoning.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheMovieFan

      Excellent posting.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      How is an execution more expensive that potentially 75 years in prison at about 35k per year?

      October 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • DK

      Then they're treating them too good in prison.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • photogrrl

      Very well stated post, Zeus.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Completely agree. Nice post.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameronspeaks

      I agree and if the Justice Systems fails us . We always have Dexter.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      "How is an execution more expensive that potentially 75 years in prison at about 35k per year?"

      The appeals process is very expensive and often drags on for years. Even with recent streamlining, the OP is correct: it is cheaper to keep them in jail for life than it is to go through the entire capitol punishment process.

      Also, if what you want is punishment, which is worse? 75 years deprived of your freedom, followed by death? Or death, relatively quick and painless? Execution is more an exercise for the spectators; in terms of punishment, it strikes me as awfully light for many crimes from the perspective of the guilty.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      there is absolutely no way possible that meals, health care, housing, clothes etc for LIFE is cheaper than a little bit of combustion propelled lead. idiot.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • anneE

      Well said!

      October 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      @ sixdegrees..... I dont care about punishment. Prison is not supposed to be about retribution it is supposed to be about reeducation and rehabilitation. neither of these apply in a capital murder case. And is there no appeals process for someone sentenced to life in prison?

      October 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toad

      timmaahhyy, there have been widely publicized studies, and it has been found that it can cost up to ten times as much to execute a convict as imprison them for life. The reason is the legal costs of appeal. You can do a search on Donald McCartin, the "Hanging Judge of Orange County", who has himself come to this view. Search on 'costs of execution' and you can read up, if you're into, you know, reading.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      @ toad....then the answer is they need to fix the system. 25 years on death row with countless appeals....I understand that some people are wrongfully convicted and that sucks but our country is getting to a point where it cant afford to house so many incorrigible people.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Salsaman561

      Zeus
      How can you say it cost more to execute than have them stay on death row for a life time. Quick update...it cost between $50-$80,000.00 a year to keep a person on death-row/life time sentance. (depending on where they are located)...Here's what I would do if I were President. First, I would have everyone vote on how the person is put to death, if found guilty. Second, I would ask for donations from those individuals that oppose the death penalty. Once the money runs out..it goe's to pay-per -view for the final outcome..Problem solved..

      October 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zeus

      timmaahhyy – First, noone spends 75 years in prison. You just don't live that long in prison. But lets go with it anyway. The cost to keep someone in prison is actually much more than $35,000....its more like $50,000. That being said....lets calculate – 75 x $50,000 = $3.75 million. After all required appeals that MUST be completed if we, as a society want to truly execute properly (making sure the evidence was right....ensuring proper procedures, etc etc), the cost to the State is approx $10-$12 million. You figure it out. Personally, I dont think we should be executing anyway, simply because of the possibility of even ONE innocent person being killed. But thats another issue.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • carl

      Jay and others: SixDegrees is 100% correct and you should get educated. Death penalty cases are extremely costly and cost far more than true life in prison. You can want them dead, but don't change facts. An alternative would be to cut down on the appeal process, argue that if you want. But realize that instead of maybe 5% of those executed being innocent it might be 20%. Look at the number of cases overturned becuase eyewitness testimony was clearly flawed.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      "And is there no appeals process for someone sentenced to life in prison?"

      Sure. But it is much, much more constrained; the convicted typically gets one shot to show that there was some legal failure during the trial, and that's it. Capitol cases are much more complex; because of the nature of the punishment, there are many more safeguards in place to begin with, many more avenues to pursue. As it should be – using the power of the state to execute someone who turns out to be innocent, after all, is a huge problem. And sadly, the number of people who have received death sentences who have been found innocent in recent years – scores of them – doesn't speak well for the judicial system as a whole when it comes to capitol punishment. But the fact is, the legal process will go on for many, many years in such cases. Feel free to research it if you like.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC

      Zeus,
      Yes, that may be true but when you take a child and kill him/her due to you have a demon inside of you that you cannot control nothing the justice system can do will give you peace that this young man killed your child and buried him/her in a shallow grave as if their life meant nothing. Only in America you can kill people and be sent to jail and not want your rights violated. I have a 7-year old daughter and the justice will not be enough for me!

      October 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • RT

      To the person who complained that an execution would be cheaper than many years at $35K apiece in prison, you need to consider the court costs for all the appeals at about $1,000,000, plus the cost of housing them for the first 20 years while awaiting the appeals is in a $90K a year death row stay. I calculate the break-even point at 80 years, so it only makes sense financially to go for the death penalty if you expect the convict to live more than 80 years.

      Yes, I know the appeals system should be streamlined too, but until that happens life in prison is actually cheaper.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zeus

      Oh, and timmaahhyy – the reason we have no room in the prisons has more to do with useless drug laws, 3 strike rules, and the privatization of the penal system so that the more we imprison, the more profits they make.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      "Prison is not supposed to be about retribution it is supposed to be about reeducation and rehabilitation. "

      In our judicial and prison systems, the working theory is that it is equal measures of both, although the balance has swung much more toward punishment in recent years. If you don't consider being deprived of most basic freedoms punishment, I don't know what to tell you. If I were faced with the choice of a lifetime in prison versus a relatively quick and painless death, I would choose death without hesitation.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • carl

      Recognize also that the death penalty only fulfills one promise - that person won't kill again - but true life in prison would do the same. It is NOT a deterrant. Non-premeditated "crimes of passion" don't involve the perp thinking "gee, I could get sentenced to death for this", and premeditated crimes are always perpetrated by those who think they will not get caught. The death penalty is a financially costly mess that accomplishes nothing. It is supported by those who think with their gut rather than their heads.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      I agree with you but not on the more expensive to execute part. 60 years/life term at $41,000 a year is ALOT more expensive than lethal injection......

      October 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • carl

      JT, are you able to read, think, or perform math? Include the legal costs and the costs to house during appeals and the death penalty is more expensive by a lot. There is more to the death penalty than a bullet or an injection. If you think there should be instant justice and no appeals, have the guts to say so and recognize the consequences. Think, don't feel.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      DC – Can you rewrite that post using punctuation and some form of legible English? I assume you have something to say, but if you can't even write it, it can't be the product of a very educated or intelligent person.

      October 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. timmaahhyy

    so its ok to post this booking photo but not the one for the NJ story about the 17 year old that killed a 12 year old for her bike?

    October 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      "While CNN does not normally show the booking photo or name suspects who are juveniles, police mentioned Sigg's name and released his photograph in hopes the public could provide information related to the case."

      Do you need tinier words?

      October 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • KWS

      Hand-wringing liberals control most of NJ.

      October 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • kandy321

      This story will be on CNN for a week, as Autumn Pasquale's murder get's pulled after a day. And we all know why.

      October 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maxy

      Oh, thats so sad, these poor babies. out here by unprotected

      October 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      @ Sam.....it was a rhetorical question. i know the answer and so do you.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      @timmaahhyy.....yes we all know the answer to your rhetorical question because it was stated in the article and reiterated in the 1st response to you. Also, it IS more expensive to put someone on death row then to imprison them for life. If you want an explanation you'll have to find it yourself.....but it's out there!

      October 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      @ lan.... I know the answer and I refuse to accept it. The system is broken and needs to be fixed. the fiscal health of our country depends on this among other systemic failures.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sir

    1-12 is a child

    13-19 -s a teenager

    20+ is an Adult

    October 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • YoungMarine

      Actually 18 is adult

      October 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mandfkiwsa

      Thanks for clearing that up for all of us too stupid to know the difference.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • LikeSauce

      yea dude, actually 18 is considered an adult. I thought at least THAT was something everyone understood, apparently not.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Current regulations actually allow a 17 year old to enter the armed forces. This is called delayed entry. They can join the military during the senior year of High School, & are eligible to retire after a full career at the age of 37. Based upon this ability to assume that extremely grave responsibility, in my eyes a 17 year old is an adult.
      If a human being has not developed a conscience or the empathy that prevents the cold blooded kidnapping & 1st degree murder of a 10 year old child by that age, then they are a sociopath. Incapable of rehabilitation; this dangerous creature should be incarcerated with the bare minimums required for existence, until his evolutionary deselection or final judgement occurs.

      October 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. taxedmore

    The supreme court has already ruled that a killer under 18 years old cannot be expected to know what they are doing and are therefore not responsible, so murder and butchery is OK for those 17 and under (except maybe for the dead victims). Thank you supreme court.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • TexasAnne

      Perhaps you need to re-read the Court's decision. It affected automatic life without parole sentences for those under 18. The decision does not prohibit life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, but it prohibits states from making them automatic, as the court noted that 28 states have done.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Forteaneye

    What would possess a 17 year old to do something like this. I grieve for the victim and her family, and for the wasted life this young man will have.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joy

    Also it said he was a suspect in another case...Another reason why they showed his picture...To see about piecing together another crime.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
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