Austin Reed Sigg, a 17-year-old interested in mortuary science, confessed to the abduction and murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway. He was also involved in a May attack on a runner. Sigg made his first court appearance on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Thursday a Colorado teenager confessed to killing a 10-year-old girl who lived less than a mile from his home — a crime that authorities previously said was probably committed by someone known to the small community of Westminster.
In addition, prosecutor Hal Sargent said 17-year old Austin Reed Sigg acknowledged a separate attack in May on a female runner by a stranger who grabbed her from behind and put a rag that smelled of chemicals over her mouth.
Police have said the two crimes were connected but didn't elaborate. Authorities also said they had DNA evidence to prove their case.
Seven of Jessica Ridgeway's family members sat with their arms around each other as Sigg made his first appearance in a heavily guarded courtroom in Golden. Sigg glanced in their direction just once.
Four of his family members also were in court, and they occasionally sobbed during the hearing.
Sigg, who wore a blue-green jail uniform and had a light goatee, mostly sat with his head bowed. At one point he spoke to the judge, saying in a high-pitched voice, "I don't understand what that ... " before breaking off when one of his attorneys began speaking to him.
When District Judge Ann Gail Meinster asked Sigg if a parent was present, he said yes and looked toward his relatives.
In the audience, Jessica's mother, Sarah Ridgeway, wore a purple ribbon in her hair. Purple was Jessica's favorite color, and purple ribbons and balloons have become a symbol of remembrance for her family and the public.
Sigg is being held without bail on suspicion of murder and kidnapping in the death of Jessica, and attempted murder and attempted kidnapping in the case of the runner. Prosecutors, who have yet to decide whether to prosecute Sigg as an adult, are expected to formally charge him next week.