Police have zoned in on the suspect in the kidnapping and killing Jessica Ridgeway, a 10-year-old girl in Colorado who went missing on October 5 on her way to school, her torso found a week later in a nearby open space area. His name is Austin Reed Sigg, age 17. Here’s what you need to know:
According to ABC News, Sigg confessed to his mother, who informed the police. “I made the phone call, and he turned himself in,” Sigg’s mother, Mindy, told The Associated Press. “That’s all I have to say.”
2. He was Studying Mortuary Science
Sigg was a student at Arapahoe Community College. The Denver Post was informed by a classmate of Sigg’s that he claimed to be “intrigued by dead bodies,” noting that “there was something creepy about him.” Another fellow student described a project Sigg did, exploring how bodies decompose, putting skinned rats in different environments, like freezing temperatures, covered up in dirt and out in the open.
3. His Father is a Rich Convicted Felon
Fox 31 in Denver explored the background of Sigg’s father, 48-year-old Robert Sigg, and found out that he has a considerable rap sheet himself. Though he owns Performance One, a media company in Centennial, Colorado, and lives in a mansion in Parker, Colorado, he has a federal conviction for bank fraud, as well as a number of others charges including assault and battery, burglary, domestic violence, driving under the influence, selling and distributing drugs, obstructing and resisting arrest, and numerous traffic offenses.
4. The Case Against Him is Solid
9News interviewed Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey, who said that “there is overwhelming evidence – including DNA evidence – against Sigg.” He lives less than a mile away from Jessica’s house, and less than half a mile to the school that Jessica was walking to when she was abducted, the elementary school that he also attended in the past. Partial remains were also discovered at the house where he was arrested. During his six-hour interview, he shared information about the crime that only someone directly involved would know.
5. He Could Be Charged as an Adult
Because Sigg’s name and photo were both immediately released following his arrest by the Westminster police, it suggests that he will be charged as an adult. His lawyer frequently referred to him as a child in court, but the prosecution says they plan to ask for him to be transferred to the county jail. He remained in juvenile court as of Thursday. His age keeps the death penalty off the table, but he can be sentenced to life in prison without parole. 9NEWS Legal Expert Scott Robinson says, in reference to Sigg being charged as an adult, that “since he’s 17, the prosecution can direct file [which means] they don’t need to get permission from anybody.”
ABC News reports that in May, a woman jogging on a trail around Ketner Lake said a man tried to grab her and “put a rag over her mouth that had a chemical smell.” The 22-year-old woman was able to get away and call the police. Sigg lives close to the reservoir where this happened and is being charged with criminal attempts at murder and kidnapping for this incident.
7. He’s Smart
The Post interviewed a friend of his, who said he was into music and computers, as well as collecting pocketknives and switchblades, but that he excelled in all his classes and was a favorite of teachers. In the spring, while enrolled at Warren Tech to complete his GED, he won second place in a Health Occupations Students of America competition in the crime scene investigation category.
8. He Has Not Yet Been Officially Charged
Though he appeared in court today, with a goatee and a mohawk, his charges were not read. Prosecutors have yet to decide the exact charges Sigg will face. October 30 is the date on which he will be formally charged, and Sigg is in holding without bond until then.
9. He Was Bullied
A student at his former high school, who admitted to picking on Sigg herself, said that he was tormented by peers for his high-pitched voice.
10. He Seemed Like A Regular Gothic Kid
9News also relayed an anecdote from his former girlfriend, who thought of him as a sweet guy whom she met at Warehouse: 180, a hangout for Christian teens. Friends say he wore a cross on a necklace, which he may be wearing in his mug shot, and carried around a Rubik’s Cube. Aside from his weapon collection, she claims that she doesn’t remember any warning signs. Another friend told 7News that though he was “gothic,” shy, and quiet, he talked mostly about playing and spending time with friends. He has a Myspace page under the name “Dohastvath,” which linked to a YouTube account that featured a link to a video of the hanging execution of Saddam Hussein.