Jessica Christine Ridgeway
January 23, 2002 - October 5, 2012
Jessica was a happy, beautiful little girl who loved making up dances. She was often heard humming, and she would laugh at silly words she would make up. Her elementary school teachers described her as being kind and caring. She was adored by both her teachers and her peers.
Jessica Ridgeway was kidnapped by a teenage male named Austin Sigg when she was walking to school. Austin confessed to how he had waited until Jessica neared his car before grabbing her. Her bound her arms and her legs and then threw her in the back of the car. She asked him who he was and if he knew her mother. Austin lied to her in response to her questions. When they arrived at his home, he carried her upstairs. Jessica, loving animals, saw cat litter boxes. She asked about the cats, and then asked what Austin was going to do to her.
For nearly two hours, Austin kept Jessica in a bedroom. During these hours, he had her watch a movie while he cut her hair and laid out clothes he wanted her to wear. He tried to strangle her with zip ties, but it didn't work. Eventually, Austin strangled her with his hands. He then filled the bathtub up with hot water and put Jessica's body in it.
He dismembered her body after she passed away, and it is thought that when he was doing this, he was carrying out a sexual fantasy of his. Austin had been troubled for some time, and it is reported that he had even been viewing child pornography since he was twelve years old. His parents sent him to therapy, but Austin himself says that therapy did little to change his desires and behaviors.
After Austin dismembered Jessica's body, he hid her in a pool shed behind his house. Jessica had passed away before her mother even realized that something was wrong and called 911, reporting her missing. People searched for Jessica for seventeen days. Slowly, things belonging to Jessica, such as her backpack containing her purple glasses, were found. Then, her body. A case was beginning to build, but it was still uncertain who had killed Jessica.
One of Austin's mother's friends expressed to investigators that she was concerned about Austin Sigg possibly having something to do with what happened to Jessica. When Austin was investigated, he willingly gave DNA samples and said he had been sleeping when Jessica was kidnapped. He had answered every question very calmly and police were not suspicious, but his DNA was sent off along with the DNA of other persons of interest.
When media reports claimed that there had been a DNA link, Austin told his classmates that he felt sick. He slept in his mother's bed that night, and the next day he told his mother that he had something horrible to tell her. She immediately asked him if what he was planning on telling her had something to do with Jessica.
Austin told his mother what he had done to Jessica. She called the police who were shocked to hear the sudden confession from somebody so young. The whole time, they had been searching for somebody older. They believed that it might have been a false confession until Austin provided them with too many precise details to have been a story he made up.
Investigators found the rest of Jessica's remains in Austin's home. Austin described himself as a monster and admitted that there had been a sexual drive behind what he had done, but that he had not sexually abused Jessica. Later he changed his story and admitted the truth, that he had sexually abused Jessica. Austin was just a bit younger than eighteen at the time, so he was not eligible for the death penalty. Instead, Austin was sentenced to life in prison for what he did to Jessica.