Jessica Ridgeway
Jessica Ridgeway
Helping find Jessica

Westminster police say they do not need volunteers to help search for 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway. But they ask that anybody with information on her disappearance please call 303-658-4336 or e-mail police.

SUPERIOR -- Officers and search crews from 12 different Colorado agencies -- as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- continued to search for 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway on Monday, as the crews expanded their hunt to the open space areas west of Superior.

After a backpack that reportedly contained a water bottle with the girl's name written on it was discovered in the Rock Creek subdivision on Sunday, the search for Jessica moved from her neighborhood in Westminster to Superior.

Crews on Monday searched the open space areas bordered by U.S. 36 to the east, Colo. 93 to the west and Colo. 128 to the south, as well as Eldorado Canyon, according to Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso.

"These are just open space areas we want to search and that we want to focus on," Materasso said at a news conference.

He said more than 100 people were helping with the search. He added there still were officers canvassing both the neighborhood in Westminster where Jessica was last seen as well as the neighborhood where her backpack was found 6.4 miles from her home.

Police do not know how long the backpack was on the sidewalk near the intersection of Andrew Drive and Alpha Court before being found around 1 p.m. Sunday, and are asking local parents to talk to their kids to see whether any of them may have seen it.

One of the neighbors living near the intersection who asked that his name not be used told the Camera on Monday that he and his wife first noticed the backpack shortly after midnight Saturday as they arrived home from a night out. He didn't inspect it more closely until the next day, he said.

Missing flier for Jessica Ridgeway (Westminster Police Department)

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is now running tests on the backpack, including DNA tests with samples provided by Jessica's family, according to Materasso.

Jessica's grandmother said Monday she dreads a time when police would use a DNA sample.

"God, I hope we don't have to (use) that," said Christine Ridgeway.

Materasso said that while police have been stationed near elementary schools in the area, they do not believe the public is at risk.

"We do not have any reason to believe there is a person going around abducting children," Materasso said.

'Anything in the world to get back'

The 10-year-old has been missing since Friday morning when her mother -- a night shift worker -- told police her daughter was last seen walking to school. She never arrived at Witt Elementary.

Materasso said there are no suspects in the case at this time, and no evidence points to any family involvement. Jessica's father, Jeremiah Bryant, attended a child-custody hearing in a Missouri courtroom on Friday and police don't believe the custody issue is related to her disappearance.

Bryant and Jessica's great-grandmother, Dana Moss, live in Independence, Mo.

Moss told media in Missouri that she consented to a search of her house because "we'd do anything in the world to get her back."

"Safely, alive -- however we can have her back," Moss said.

On Monday, Jessica's grandmother said the family in Colorado is close and rallying around Jessica's mother, Sarah Ridgeway. Family members have been talking about putting out a statement, and may do so later, Christine Ridgeway said.

"We are doing a family conference right now, getting our ducks in a row," she said. "We are not letting Sarah decide on this by herself."

'Go find Jessica'

As search crews gathered near the Coalton Trailhead in Superior on Monday morning, two search and rescue personnel opened a bag and allowed a search dog to sniff what looked like a piece of fabric inside, and then said, "Go find Jessica."

Searchers on horseback also went out into open space, as a remote-controlled helicopter equipped with a camera briefly circled the area. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle was in Superior assisting with the search near McCaslin Boulevard and Colo. 128.

Materasso said police are not asking for more volunteers, but said people looking to assist could help to distribute updated fliers with more pictures of Jessica. Officials believe the girl -- who is described as blonde, blue-eyed, 4 feet 10 inches tall and 80 pounds -- may have changed clothes.

"We are asking people to not focus on the clothes," Materasso said. "Really focus on Jessica, focus on her facial features. If you see a flier, take a good look at it."

Westminster police released several additional photos of Ridgeway -- both with glasses and without -- during the afternoon Monday.

At the Coalton Trailhead, Superior resident Sami Carroll taped up the last of 100 fliers that she printed Monday morning to help spread word of Jessica's disappearance.

"I had to do something," Carroll said. "I'm a mom, so it was sad enough for it to be 6 miles away. But when it came this close to here, it was too close to home."

The Denver Post contributed to this report.