Missing Colorado girl, 10, may have been spotted in Dexter

Posted Oct. 10, 2012, at 12:13 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 11, 2012, at 8:55 a.m.
Jessica Ridgeway
amberalert.gov
Jessica Ridgeway

DEXTER, Maine — A Harmony woman told police in Dexter that she may have seen a missing 10-year-old girl from Colorado on Sunday.

The woman was on Spring Street at about 4 p.m. Sunday and said she saw a light blue Buick Century station wagon with Colorado plates heading north.

The woman said she “saw a female about 10 years old in the back seat that looked a lot like Jessica Ridgeway,” Dexter police Sgt. Alan Grinnell said Wednesday morning. “She called us on Tuesday after seeing the Amber Alert on her computer.”

Grinnell said Dexter police have been in touch with authorities in Westminster, Colo., where the girl was last seen on Friday morning. Dexter police have also alerted other police agencies to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

The witness told police that the station wagon has a roof rack and five-spoke wheels.

Ridgeway was last seen leaving her home to meet friends at a park on Friday morning. She never arrived at school.

Because Jessica’s mother, Sarah Ridgeway, works nights, she missed the call from the school about Jessica’s absence and didn’t realize she was missing for nearly eight hours.

On Sunday, her backpack and water bottle were found on a sidewalk about six miles north of her Westminster home. The contents of the bag were sent to a police DNA crime lab for analysis.

Divers were searching ponds near her home while police and residents have been searching for the fifth-grader.

More than 800 volunteers turned out for Saturday’s search, and at least 300 leads have been called in to a tip line.

On Wednesday, police were investigating whether an abduction in Cody, Wyo., could be linked to Ridgeway’s disappearance.

A man lured an 11-year-old girl into his vehicle on Monday. He told the girl he needed help looking for his puppy. The girl was found by hunters after being released four hours later.

Jessica’s mother, Sarah Ridgeway of Westminster, and her father, Jeremiah Bryant of Independence, Mo., issued their first public call for help finding their daughter in a television interview Tuesday.

“I want her to come walking back through that door,” Sarah Ridgeway told KUSA-TV in Denver. “I need her to come walking back through that door.”

Police are asking the public to notice Jessica’s distinguishing characteristics — a small gap between her two front teeth and a sore on the top of her nose below where her glasses sit. They say she may not be wearing glasses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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