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Local Case: Jessica Ridgeway

Written by: Jenae

Trigger warning: child abuse, sexual assault, death of a child

No crime photos in this post.


Jessica Ridgeway, 10-years-old

On Oct. 5th 2012, Jessica Ridgeway went missing on her way to school. She was walking to school and never met up with the friends she usually met up with. The park was only three blocks from Jessica’s home. This is the last time Jessica Ridgeway was seen alive.

Jessica never made her way to school and officials notified her mother. Jessica’s mother didn’t get the message until 4:30pm (about 8 hours later). Once she heard the message she called Westminster PD and filed a police report. An Amber Alert wasn’t issued until almost 5 hours later, wasting valuable time that the Ridgeway family didn't have. The criteria for an Amber Alert had not been met until that point.

Ridgeway's family

A search party was organized three days later, pulling 125 local folks to help find Jessica. The community also pulled together to hang signs and purple ribbons as this was Jessica’s favorite color. This party didn’t turn up anything in the neighborhood. Ridgeway’s parents appeared on TV, pleading for anyone to come forward with information about their daughter’s whereabouts. The police ruled out any involvement from the parents by 10/11 and began to look at the disappearance.

Four days later, on Oct. 11th, 2012 police found Ridgeway’s backpack about 7 miles away from her home. Later, police found a torso in a trash bag in a secluded area of the park. This torso belonged to Jessica.

Nearby, in the Sigg household, Mindy Sigg had a feeling her son, Austin Sigg 17, was involved. Austin had a previous run in with the law when he attempted to kidnap a young woman jogging in the park with chloroform he had made in May of 2012. The jogger escaped and pressed charges.

Austin Sigg

Austin started exhibiting strange behavior at a young age. By the time he was 12, he was taken to treatment by his mother for the extensive amount of violent porn he constantly watched. Sigg was bullied in high school, to the point where he dropped out and completed his GED. Sigg was then able to enroll in a mortuary science program at ACC, which he told his brother he was taking to learn how to get away with murder. Sigg also practiced binding with zip ties on his mother before the murder.

Austin confessed to his mother that he had killed Jessica and that the remains are in the home. Mindy then promptly called 911 spoke with the dispatcher before handing the phone to her son. (His confession to 911 below.)

The police arrested Sigg on 10/23, 18 days after Jessica disappeared. Upon arrest the police searched the home where Sigg had committed the crime. In the crawl space of the home, police found many bags like the one found in the park, these bags contained limbs and Ridgeway’s head. Sigg’s computer was also seized. On it, they found child pornography. Mindy Sigg confirmed that this had been an issue in the past, as she also found child pornography on her son’s computer in 2008.

Sigg was charged with 15 crimes including kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, and dismemberment. Sigg detailed his crimes in questioning. He lured the young girl into his car and bound her hands and feet with zip ties. He drove her around for 30 minutes before bringing her back to the home he shared with his mother. Jessica consistently asked if everything was okay, Sigg continued to reassure her but said this in court: “The second she was in my car, I knew she was dead”. Sigg then spent hours in the home with Ridgeway, he cut her hair and gave her clothes to change into, he sexually assaulted her and attempted to strangle her with a zip tie. When the zip tie broke, he filled the bathtub up with hot water and drown Ridgeway in it before dismembering her body and cleaning up. Sigg was ineligible for the death penalty as he was 17 at the time of committing the crime. Sigg was instead give a life sentence plus 86 years in prison. In his own words during the trial: “I am a monster. There’s no better word to describe what I’ve done than evil”.

Jessica is remembered as a lovely little girl who loved the color purple and her pee wee cheer leading group. In Westminster, CO, there's an entire park named after her in memorandum of the kind little girl their community lost too soon.

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