Discovery of body not connected thus far to Jessica Ridgeway - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

ID of body found in search for Jessica Ridgeway expected late Friday

WESTMINSTER, CO (KCTV) -

Authorities in Colorado have been unable to identify a body found in the search for missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, police said Thursday afternoon.

"We appreciate the media recognizing that from the helicopter you have footage of the body showing that it is not intact," Westminster Police Department's Trevor Materasso said. "This is extending the length of time it is taking for the investigation to positively identify who that body is."

In a tweet, Westminster police said Friday morning that a positive identification won't come until late Friday. Police have previously said this is "due to the condition of the body."

"We are expecting that sometime tomorrow we will be able to hold a press conference with the agency heads. That information will then be released at that time tomorrow," Materasso said during a Thursday news conference.

Many in the Westminster area are wearing the color purple or purple ribbons on Friday in a show of solidarity for Jessica. Purple is her favorite color.

This comes as the search of the area continues by hundreds of law enforcement officials. Materasso asked residents to continue to report tips to 303-658-4336.

Materasso took no questions and spoke for a minute and 20 seconds.

ABC News has reported that investigators believe the body is that of Jessica.

Denver media outlets reported Thursday that the body had been dismembered and did not appear to be that of an adult. One media outlet said the body had been hacked up and the scene was "gruesome."

The body was reportedly discovered Wednesday evening near an abandoned mining shack on the Pattridge Park open space in Arvada.

"At this time, we're unable to make any connection to the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway,"  Materasso said Wednesday night.

He said Westminster and Arvada detectives, along with others, continue to work the crime scene.

FBI spokesman Dave Joly described the type of person that authorities are seeking. Joly said investigators are assuming this is a man who likely lives in the area.

He asked residents to keep a close eye out for anyone who has had since Friday unusual changes in their behavior or have made changes to their physical appearance such as shaving a moustache.

Click here to read the FBI news release.

Jessica was last seen Friday morning as she left her home to go to school. She never made it school.

Police have cleared her parents as suspects. Jessica lives with her mother. Her father, Jeremy Bryant, lives in Independence, MO, along with his grandmother. A vigil was held in Independence on Wednesday night.

Bryant traveled from Independence to Colorado this week. He made an emotional plea on Wednesday for the safe return of his daughter.

Her family in Independence told KCTV5 Wednesday that police alerted the family to the discovery of the body Tuesday night. However, they remain hopeful that the girl will be returned to her family safely.

Copyright2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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