Search for missing girl reveals a body

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- Police looking for a 10-year-old girl who disappeared on her walk to school have found a body in a park, but they are not saying if it is linked to the case and noted Thursday that officers are still searching for her.

The discovery of the body is the latest turn in the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway that has seen police look for clues in a reported sighting in a car with Colorado plates in Maine and a Wyoming abduction. The FBI said Thursday that abduction was unrelated.

Police spokesman Trevor Materasso said the body found in the park "is not intact," and that has slowed the work of identification.

Police also declined to say if the body was that of a child.

The body was found late Wednesday at Pattridge Park in park in the Denver suburb of Arvada, about seven miles from where Jessica disappeared Oct. 5.

In tweets, Westminster police said investigators had worked overnight to identify the body. Officers searched more of the park Thursday as well as areas closer to Jessica's home. Police said photo radar vans -- normally used to detect and photograph speeding vehicles -- were being used to monitor streets around the girl's house.

Police have ruled out her parents -- Sarah Ridgeway, who lives Colorado, and Jeremiah Bryant, who lives in Missouri -- as suspects in the girl's disappearance. Authorities believe Jessica was kidnapped by an "unknown suspect."

Jessica's mother last saw her daughter walking to school. The girl never arrived, setting off a search by hundreds of law enforcement officials and residents.

Aurelio Florez, who has lived in Jessica's neighborhood for six years, said it was shocking that Jessica could have vanished during a two-block walk to a park where she usually met friends before continuing on to school.

"You can see the park from her front door," he said.

Fliers about the fifth-grader were posted on nearly every house in her neighborhood of modest, two-story homes with single-car garages. Purple ribbons, a symbol of hope for her return, were tied around trees.

It was a lively area where children played outdoors, said another neighbor, Luis Pena, but since Jessica disappeared, parents are keeping their children inside and people look at each other with suspicion.

"Nobody trusts anybody anymore," he said.

The only clue police have revealed is the discovery last weekend of a backpack and water bottle that she had with her when she disappeared

The items were found in the town of Superior, about six miles from her home, and about 7 miles from the park.

Westminster police repeatedly have urged the public to study the details of Jessica's face in a photo -- a small, gaptoothed grin, a slight bruise on her nose -- and a short home video, hoping someone may have seen something.

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