Austin Sigg, the suspect in the murder of Jessica Ridgeway, was charged as an adult Tuesday in a Jefferson County courtroom. He faces 17 charges including four counts of first-degree murder.
The 17-year-old also faces two kidnapping charges, one count of sexual assault on a child and a robbery charge connected to the Ridgeway murder. He faces one count of criminal attempt of sexual assault and one count of criminal attempt of kidnapping connected to the attempted abduction of a woman running around Ketner Lake in Westminster.
The former Arapahoe Community College student calmly walked into the courtroom nodding to his family members who sat behind him. As the charges were read, some of Sigg’s family members began crying. Eight members of Ridgeway’s family, including her mother Sarah, were in the court room all wearing Ridgeway’s favorite color, purple.
Last week Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey said Sigg will not face the death penalty because he is a juvenile. Storey said it’s a murky situation in terms of whether Sigg could face life in prison without parole also because he is a juvenile. When asked if he’s worked on a case like this one before, Storey said, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years, I’ve seen a lot.”
Ten-year-old Ridgeway disappeared on Oct. 5 while walking to Chelsea Park in Westminster to meet up with friends before school. Her body was found days later in the Pattridge Park Open Space area in Arvada. Police received a call last week from Sigg’s mother leading police to his arrest.
Before attending Arapahoe Community College, Sigg attended Standley Lake High School in Westminster. Sophomore Adam Williams didn’t know Sigg personally, but he did see him around school last year. He said after Sigg’s arrest was in the news it really hit home.
“Once we found out that the kid who had done it had just left the school not only a year ago, a guy everyone knew or had class with, it really brought in a lot harder,” he said. “You wouldn’t expect that someone you were talking to about a math question last year would actually have done this to a little girl.”
Westminster Mayor Nancy McNally said now that Sigg has been arrested, the community needs to also give support to the Sigg family, as well as continue the support for the Ridgeway family. She also expressed her appreciation to the law enforcement members for their continued work on this case.
“I can’t say enough praise and gratefulness for our police force as they have worked tirelessly on this investigation,” she said. “I know each one of them are working hard to keep this city safe and to bring justice to Jessica. Each one of them think of Jessica as their own daughter.”
Sigg remains in juvenile detention. The next hearing, a status conference, is set for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27.