UK & World News
Hunt Widens For Missing Colorado Schoolgirl
Hundreds of police and volunteers in Colorado are due to spend the day searching for missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway after detectives confirmed her backpack and water bottle may have been found.
The discovery by a member of public is the best lead so far in the hunt for the schoolgirl, who disappeared Friday morning from her home in Westminster, which is 12 miles north of Denver and has a population of around 13,000 people.
Over the weekend, an army of 800 volunteers worked with police and federal investigators to scour trails and hillsides near Jessica's home. Tracker dogs were also brought in to aid the search.
Then on Sunday a resident in Superior, over 10 miles away, reported finding a backpack containing a water bottle with Jessica's name written on it.
"Obviously, it gives the investigation something to go on," Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso told reporters.
Jessica usually met a friend at a nearby park before heading to school, but she never made it to the park or to Witt Elementary on Friday.
But an Amber Alert was only issued that evening for the youngster, nearly eight hours after she disappeared.
Her mother works night shifts and apparently slept through calls from school staff to tell her she had not arrived.
Police say Jessica's mother and father are locked in a custody battle. Officers do not think Jessica is with him, but they say they are not ruling anyone out.
"We don't have a person of interest. And we are going to look at every angle multiple times," Mr Materasso added.
When last seen Jessica was wearing pink and purple glasses, blue jeans and a black puffy jacket.