Delays IDing Body Found In Jessica Ridgeway Search

Jessica Ridgeway
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WESTMINSTER, CO (KCTV) - Authorities in Colorado have been unable to identify a body found in the search for missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, police said Thursday afternoon.

The Colorado girl went missing on Oct. 5. Her father, Jeremy Bryant, lives in Independence. He has traveled to Colorado to assist in the search for her.

"We appreciate the media recognizing that from the helicopter you have footage of the body showing that it is not intact," Westminster Police Department's Trevor Materasso said. "This is extending the length of time it is taking for the investigation to positively identify who that body is."

Police have told Jessica's family and hope to be able to release the identity on Friday.

But police said Thursday evening that "due to the condition of the body" that a positive identification won't come until late Friday afternoon.

"We are expecting that sometime tomorrow we will be able to hold a press conference with the agency heads. That information will then be released at that time tomorrow," Materasso said in a 1:15 p.m. news conference.

The search of the area continues by hundreds of law enforcement officials. Materasso asked residents to continue to report tips to 303-658-4336.

Materasso took no questions and spoke for a minute and 20 seconds.

ABC News has reported that investigators believe the body is that of Jessica.

Denver media outlets reported Thursday that the body had been dismembered and did not appear to be that of an adult. One media outlet said the body had been hacked up and the scene was "gruesome."

The body was reportedly discovered Wednesday evening near an abandoned mining shack on the Pattridge Park open space in Arvada.

"At this time, we're unable to make any connection to the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway," Materasso said Wednesday night.

He said Westminster and Arvada detectives, along with others, continue to work the crime scene.

Jessica, 10, was last seen Friday morning as she left her Westminster, CO, home to go to school. She never made it school.

Police have cleared her parents as suspects. Jessica lives with her mother. Her father, Jeremy Bryant, lives in Independence, MO, along with his grandmother. A vigil was held in Independence on Wednesday night.

Bryant traveled from Independence to Colorado this week. He made an emotional plea on Wednesday for the safe return of his daughter.

Her family in Independence told KCTV5 Wednesday that police alerted the family to the discovery of the body Tuesday night. However, they remain hopeful that the girl will be returned to her family safely.