This image provided by the Westminster Colorado Police Department shows Jessica Ridgeway, who went missing on her way to school on Oct. 5. A body found in a suburban Denver park was identified Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, as that of the missing 10-year-old girl, as anxious parents kept close watch over their children because of the potential presence of a predator in their midst, authorities said.Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
GOLDEN, Colo. — A Colorado teenager has confessed in the abduction and killing of a 10-year-old girl and in a separate attack on a runner, prosecutors said today.
The suspect, 17-year-old Austin Reed Sigg, made his first court appearance today in the death of Jessica Ridgeway and an assault on a 22-year-old female runner in May.
Authorities said today they have “overwhelming” DNA evidence against Sigg.
Sigg lived about a mile from Jessica Ridgeway, who disappeared Oct. 5.
He kept head bowed for much of the time, talking with his attorney but otherwise saying little.
He made eye contact at one point with relatives of Ridgeway, who were in the courtroom wearing purple ribbons in the girl’s memory.
District Attorney Scott Storey said the law prevents prosecutors from seeking the death penalty because Sigg is a juvenile, even though he is being prosecuted as an adult.
Police in the Denver suburb of Westminster said they took Sigg into custody Tuesday night after receiving a phone call, apparently from his mother, that led them to Sigg.
Reached by phone, Sigg’s mother told The Associated Press he turned himself in.
“I made the phone call, and he turned himself in. That’s all I have to say,” said Mindy Sigg, before she broke down in tears and hung up.
Authorities said Sigg also will face charges in the May 28 attempted kidnapping of the 22-year-old runner at the Ketner Lake Open Space. Police have said the two crimes are connected but haven’t elaborated.
In the May case, a woman fought off a stranger who grabbed her from behind and put a rag that smelled of chemicals over her mouth, authorities said. Police haven’t determined if the substance on the rag was meant to subdue the woman.
Authorities have released few details about their investigation, and court documents have been sealed. A police custody report said Sigg was cooperative when he was arrested and waived his rights.