Dismembered body in Colorado is Jessica Ridgeway, police say (VIDEO)


Jessica Ridgeway


Westminster Police Department

Authorities confirmed Friday that a dismembered body found this week is that of missing 10-year-old Colorado girl Jessica Ridgeway.

"Our focus has changed from the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica," NBC News quoted Westminster, Colorado, Police Chief Lee Birk as saying at a news conference. "We realize there is a predator at large in our community."

Ridgeway went missing the morning of Oct. 5 during a short walk from her home to Witt Elementary School.

More from GlobalPost: Body found in Colorado but not confirmed as Jessica Ridgeway

A massive search by hundreds of law enforcement officers was launched hours later because Jessica's mother, Sarah Ridgeway, works nights and slept through a call from school officials saying the fifth-grader wasn't there, according to NBC.

Jessica's body was found Wednesday night in an open space area about 7 miles southwest of her home, The Associated Press reported.

The FBI said the suspect is most likely a man. He might have been a "no show" and missed work immediately after the incident for an excuse such as illness, death in the family or car trouble, ABC News reported.

"It could be your boss, it could be your friend and, ultimately, it could be your family member," FBI spokesman David Joly said.

The only clue found so far was the discovery of Jessica's backpack and water bottle in Superior, about six miles northwest of her home, two days after she disappeared. Police will not discuss what was found in the bag or test results involving it, Denver TV station KUSA reported.

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