Police probing murder of Colorado girl look for ties to prior abduction bid

Reuters News

10/18/2012 9:48:22 PM - Reuters News

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Police investigating the slaying of a 10-year-old Colorado girl whose dismembered body was found days after she disappeared released on Thursday the description of a man who attempted to abduct a woman in the same area months earlier.

While not calling the man in the earlier incident a suspect in the kidnap and murder of Jessica Ridgeway, Westminster, Colorado, police issued the bulletin in an effort to "uncover any lead" in the high-profile case.

"Due to the time frame and geographic proximity of Jessica's disappearance and the attempted abduction ... police are trying to determine if there is any connection between the two cases," Westminster police Inspector Trevor Materasso said.

In the previous abduction attempt, Materasso said a 22-year-old woman jogging around a lake about a half-mile from the Ridgeway home was grabbed from behind by a man who placed a rag with a chemical odor to it over her mouth.

The woman escaped and described her attacker as a light-skinned Caucasian male between 18 and 30 years of age, 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build and brown hair.

Jessica Ridgeway disappeared on her way to school on October 5, prompting a search by hundreds of police officers and scores of volunteers.

Any hope of finding the girl alive was dashed six days later when police said they had found the "not intact" remains of a girl in a park area about 10 miles from the girl's home.

A day later, police positively identified the remains of as those of Jessica, turning the search for the girl into a hunt for a killer that FBI profilers are certain is male.

After police questioned the girl's parents, they were both ruled out as suspects in their daughter's abduction and murder.

A task force comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement is looking into some 4,000 tips that have come into the command center, police said.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney)