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Authorities say they think Colorado girl was abducted

By P. Solomon Banda and Colleen Slevin

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012 11:34 p.m. MDT

Police in neighboring Arvada earlier backed off a possible link between Jessica's disappearance and reports of a suspected predator approaching two children in the weeks before. Police said there was no evidence connecting the incidents.

On Wednesday, about 25 deputies arrived by bus and fanned out across Jessica's neighborhood, scouring bushes and front yards.

Divers again searched ponds in what Materasso described as a "precautionary measure." Police have isolated trash from Jessica's neighborhood at a landfill — but will search there only if the investigation points them in that direction, Materasso said.

Critical was an initial delay in reporting Jessica missing. Many child abduction cases or Amber Alerts are resolved within hours of a report, as was the case in the Wyoming abduction Monday.

Sarah Ridgeway said her daughter woke up at 7:45 a.m. Friday as usual and ate a granola bar before leaving to meet friends at a park about a block away for their walk to Witt Elementary School. Police say Sarah Ridgeway, a night-shift worker, was asleep and missed a call from school reporting Jessica absent. She got the message when she woke at about 4 p.m., eight hours after she said her daughter left the house.

Sarah Ridgeway checked the park, Jessica's friends and the school before calling police. Jessica never even met her friends that morning.

Police also searched Bryant's home in Missouri, where Bryant was at work on Friday, before he traveled to Colorado to be with Jessica's family.

Court records indicate Bryant was ordered to pay Sarah Ridgeway $267 per month in child support in 2005. Bryant's grandmother, retired nurse Donna Moss, said the families have always been on good terms, and she saw Jessica about once a year.

Court records also show Bryant was sentenced this summer to supervised probation in a domestic assault case in Missouri. Information on the alleged victim wasn't immediately available.

The protracted search has concerned students and parents throughout the area. Jefferson County's school district urged parents of students to update their contact information as a first step "in determining any changes in our attendance practices."

"Jessica's disappearance has understandably created concern for the safety of all students," the district said in an email. "Please join us in helping to keep your children safe."

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