Jessica Ridgeway video, search update: New video of missing Westminster girl released

WESTMINSTER, Colo. - New video of Jessica Ridgeway, the 10-year-old Westminster girl missing since Friday, has been released to the public in the hopes that someone will recognize her.

Authorities continue to search for the girl who went missing while walking to school Friday morning.

During a 6:30 a.m. news conference Tuesday police said they will focus on canvassing the neighborhood where she disappeared and looking at several open space areas they have not yet looked at.

Police plan to release more photos of Jessica as well as a video of her on Tuesday. Authorities have said they hope the public will burn the image of her face into memory should someone come across her.

Monday agents with the FBI searched homes around Jessica's house.

7NEWS reporter Lance Hernandez talked with residents who said they voluntarily let investigators search their property.

"My attitude is check. Go ahead, check. Do what you need to do," said neighbor Kathleen Rodriguez. "I know she's not here, but they need to know that."

The agents were exploring if the girl might have taken shelter in a parked car during the cold weekend, if she snuck into a house or garage or if someone might be hiding her, homeowners told Hernandez.

Residents said the agents were also asking, "Did you hear anything out of the ordinary-- any noises or slamming doors? Or have you seen anything out of the ordinary?" Hernandez recounted.

Neighbor Kerry Viney said the investigators also asked if he'd noticed suspicious vehicles or any workers who had recently come into the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Jessica's mother, Sarah Ridgeway, came out of her home Monday evening, and made an emotional journey. As friends supported her arms, the mother walked down the street where Jessica was last on Friday morning as she left for school.

FBI agents spent more than an hour meeting with Jessica's family members at their home on Monday morning.

Steve Kesel, who was house-sitting for a friend in the neighborhood, let investigators search the home, including its attic.

"I'm just helping out," Kesel said. "They're just asking, 'Did you see any suspicious things going on in the neighborhood (like) different vehicles?'
Referring to Jessica's mother, Kesel said: "I hope for a speedy, speedy happiness for this lady -- putting the kid back in her mom's arms."

Investigators were sifting through more than 300 tips from the public.

Sources tell 7News that investigators are looking into a report that someone saw a suspicious van in the Ridgeway's neighborhood on Friday morning when Jessica disappeared.

That sighting came a day after two girls -- ages 10 and 11 -- told Arvada police that a man in a white van followed them as they walked home from Lawrence Elementary. That school is only about 8 miles from Jessica's home.

Arvada police are investigating the van incident, and Westminster police say they haven't ruled out a possible connection with Jessica's disappearance.

She was last seen walking to Chelsea Park in the area of 107th Avenue and Moore Street around 8:30 a.m. Friday, where she was to meet several friends before walking to Witt Elementary School. Jessica never showed up at the park or at school.

Officers with dogs searched the neighborhood near Jessica's home again Monday, including several fields, said Westminster police spokesman Trevor Matterasso

"Every search is crucial, that's why we're conducting those and that's why we're repeating. We're still in Jessica's neighborhood, obviously. That area has been searched. Areas are being searched a second and third time. We're focusing on the area she was last seen in and again we're focusing on the area where that backpack was found," Matterasso said.

Additionally, Matterasso said 125 searchers are looking in a triangular search area around the location where the girl's backpack and water bottle was found over the weekend . That triangular area is defined by Highway 128, Highway 36 and Highway 93, including El Dorado Canyon.

Jessica's backpack and water bottle have been taken to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab to be analyzed.

Matterasso urged parents to speak with their children about Jessica's backpack, which was discovered near the intersection of Andrew Drive and Alpha Court in Superior.

"We don't know when the bag was put there. Obviously over the weekend, kids were out of school. There is a chance that the kids may have gone by, playing, riding bikes. We want parents to talk to their kids about it," he said.

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