Prosecutors ready to file charges in Ridgeway case

DENVER — A teenager who prosecutors said confessed to killing a 10-year-old Westminster girl and attacking a runner at a nearby lake was set to be formally charged in adult court Tuesday.

Prosecutors are expected to charge Austin Sigg, 17, in the slaying of Jessica Ridgeway and in a separate attack on a 22-year-old woman.

Jessica disappeared Oct. 5 after leaving her home to meet a friend for a walk to school, prompting a massive search by hundreds of volunteers and police. Authorities found her remains five days later in a park seven miles from Jessica’s home.

Jessica lived on a quiet street about a mile from where Sigg lived with his mother. The subdivision features an elementary school, a high school, small parks, greenbelts, open space and a lake.

Police arrested Sigg last week after receiving a phone call from his mother.

He was being held without bail on suspicion of murder and kidnapping in the death of Jessica, and on attempted murder and attempted kidnapping charges in the case of the runner.

“There’s DNA evidence, and the evidence is overwhelming,” prosecutor Hal Sargent said at a hearing Thursday, arguing that Sigg should be held without bail despite having no criminal record.

Police said the runner reported being grabbed from behind by a man who placed a rag with a chemical smell over her mouth. Police have not revealed whether the rag was soaked with a chemical meant to subdue the woman.

Former high school classmates painted a picture of the 5-foot-6, 160-pound Sigg as an intelligent teen who often wore black and complained about school but who would stay late sometimes to work on computers. Sigg was interested in mortuary science and was taking forensics classes, according to classmates.

Sigg enrolled in August at Arapahoe Community College, which offers the state’s only accredited mortuary science program. The school said Sigg didn’t have enough credits yet to apply to that program.

Sigg had left Standley Lake High School in July after finishing the 11th grade and later earned a GED. School officials don’t know why he left.

Former schoolmate Sarah Morevec said Sigg had been bullied for having a high voice.


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