October 25, 2012

Teen arrested in death of Colorado girl

Austin Reed Sigg's mother says she made the call to police and her son 'turned himself in.'

The Associated Press

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A teenager who lived just a mile from a 10-year-old Colorado girl who was abducted and killed earlier this month has been arrested in her death and also in a May attack on a runner, authorities said Wednesday.

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Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk announces the arrest Wednesday of Austin Reed Sigg, 17, in the death of Jessica Ridgeway.

The Associated Press

Austin Reed Sigg
click image to enlarge

Austin Reed Sigg

The Associated Press

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Police in the Denver suburb of Westminster said they took 17-year-old Austin Reed Sigg into custody on Tuesday night after receiving a phone call, apparently from his mother, that led them to Sigg. He was formally arrested Wednesday.

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.

Police announced the arrest as agents searched the home of Sigg, an Arapahoe Community College student described by former classmates as a smart "goth kid" who was interested in mortuary science.

Authorities declined to elaborate on the arrest and have released few details about the case. Court documents have been sealed, but a police custody report said Sigg was cooperative when he was arrested and waived his rights.

Jessica Ridgeway disappeared Oct. 5 while walking to school. Her remains were found five days later in a field at a park, and police said her body was "not intact."

The arrest in the case came a day after police said Jessica's abduction was connected to the May 28 attempted kidnapping of a 22-year-old runner at another area park, the Ketner Lake Open Space.

In that 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. Westminster investigator Trevor Materasso said Tuesday police hadn't been able to determine if the substance on the rag was meant to subdue the woman.

Authorities didn't say why they think the two crimes are linked, but they noted Sigg will be charged in both. His first court appearance is set for 8 a.m. Thursday.

Sigg attended Witt Elementary -- the same school Jessica went to -- but he moved on to middle school in 2007, before she enrolled, Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman Lynn Setzer said.

Jessica was on her way to Witt when she disappeared.

Sigg later attended Standley Lake High School while also taking classes at Warren Tech, a district school that offers specialized training in health science, public safety, technology and other fields.

Sigg left the school district in July after finishing the 11th grade and later earned a GED. School officials don't know why he left.

Arapahoe Community College officials confirmed Sigg is enrolled there but wouldn't release other details.

As technicians in white coveralls searched Sigg's home, former high school classmates painted a picture of Sigg as an intelligent teen who often wore black and complained about school but would stay late sometimes to work on computers.

Sigg was interested in mortuary science and was taking forensics classes, said Rachel Bradley, 17, who attended Standley Lake with him. Arapahoe Community College offers the state's only accredited mortuary science program.

"It's just so weird to grasp the concept of how, like, I knew him and how he lives so close to us," Bradley said.

"I never saw it coming," Bradley said of the allegations against Sigg.

Dakota Foster graduated from Standley Lake in 2011, a year before Sigg left. Foster said he and his friends sat at the opposite end of a cafeteria table from Sigg and his friends.

"He was really nice and laughed a lot with us and told jokes, and laughed at our jokes," Foster said.

(Continued on page 2)

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Jessica Ridgeway


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