Detective: Teen kept girl's remains in crawl space

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) -- A detective says an 18-year-old accused of kidnapping and killing a suburban Denver school girl kept some of the girl's remains in a crawl space at a home he shared with his mother.

Westminster police detective Luis Lopez testified Friday that the teenager, Austin Sigg, had been on investigators' radar before a neighbor called a tip line suggesting they check him out.

Two FBI agents responded and took a DNA sample from Sigg on Oct. 19, four days before his mother called to say he confessed to killing the 10-year-old girl, Jessica Ridgeway.

Sigg's mother also told authorities of the human remains.

Lopez says the remains were later identified as Jessica's and that DNA samples link him to Jessica's remains and clothing. He says no semen was found.

Prosecutors are laying out their case during the hearing to try to convince a judge that there's enough evidence for Sigg to stand trial. The judge originally ordered the hearing to be closed to the public but the Colorado Supreme Court sided with media organizations who argued that he failed to show that holding the hearing in public would jeopardize Sigg's right to a fair trial.

Jessica's disappeared while walking to school on Oct. 5. Some of her remains were found in garbage bags in an open space park five days later. Friday was the first time investigators revealed that the bags contained her torso.

The case set parents in the Denver area on edge as weeks passed without an arrest. Hundreds of officers canvassed the area and investigated leads and took DNA samples as parents waited with their children at bus stops and thought twice about letting them out of sight.

Police asked residents to be on the lookout for anything suspicious from their bosses, friends and family members, watching for things like leaving home unexpectedly, missing appointments or changing their appearance.

Lopez said Sigg's mother turned her son in on Oct. 23, a day before testing was completed on the DNA sample taken based on the neighbor's tip.

Former classmates of Sigg described him as a smart and interested in mortuary science.

Sigg is charged with murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery. Prosecutors have also added three counts of sexual exploitation of a child because child pornography was allegedly found during the investigation.


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