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Police think Colorado girl was abducted

Oct 11, 2012 - The Associated Press

DENVER -- The sudden disappearance of a 10-year-old Colorado girl took yet another turn Wednesday, with authorities saying they believe she was abducted.

The case has seen a number of twists since Jessica Ridgeway vanished Friday on what should have been a short walk to school. Police initially said the public didn't need to fear a kidnapper -- then said they were investigating whether the case might be related to that of another girl who was abducted for several hours Monday in Wyoming, among other tips they received.

On Wednesday afternoon, authorities changed course more definitively, saying they believe Jessica was kidnapped by an "unknown suspect."

Adding to the mystery was a reported sighting more than 2,000 miles away in Maine in a car with Colorado license plates -- one of hundreds of leads being investigating from at least five states.

Amid it all, there's still no sign of Jessica, the fifth-grader with blond hair and glasses who loves math and gym class.

Police in the Denver suburb of Westminster repeatedly have urged the public to study the details of her face in a photo -- a small, gap-toothed grin, a slight bruise on her nose -- and a short home video, in hopes they may have seen something or come across the girl. They've thanked thousands of Coloradans and others for helping with a search they have insisted is focused on the area surrounding Jessica's home.

For days, police only hinted at the possibility of a kidnapping. But at a news conference Wednesday, Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso said authorities believe the girl was abducted by an unknown person.

He also said the investigation's focus is not the girl's parents, who are cooperating. Jessica's mother lives Colorado, and her father lives in Missouri.

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