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Police: Search for missing Colorado girl continues; body found nearby is 'not intact'

Barry Gutierrez / AP

Police search near the 9800 block of Alkire St. on the west side of Stanley Lake in Arvada, Colo., on Thursday. Police are not saying whether a body found in Pattridge Park on Wednesday is linked to the disappearance of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.

A body found in Arvada, Colo., during the search for missing schoolgirl Jessica Ridgeway is "not intact," delaying the official identification of the remains, police said Thursday.


Jessica Ridgeway disappeared while making the short walk to school Friday.

Westminster Police spokesman Trevor Materasso said police have not tied the discovery of the body to the search for the missing girl, however, they hope to have a positive ID on the body by Friday.

The body was removed from Pattridge Park in Arvada -- an area dotted with abandoned coal mines about five miles southwest of Westminster -- by police just before 9 p.m. Wednesday (11 p.m. ET).

Authorities said Wednesday that they believed Jessica, a fifth-grader with blond hair and glasses who loves math and gym class, had been abducted. She disappeared Friday on what should have been a short walk to school in Westminster.

In their search for Jessica, police have dismissed any connection to several related cases. 

In one, police in Portsmouth, N.H., said there was no link between an abandoned car with a Colorado license plate found at a Walmart and the investigation into Jessica’s disappearance. Instead, police said the car belongs to a woman who recently moved from Colorado to New Hampshire, and she parked at the Walmart because she doesn’t have parking at her home.

In another, police said they were investigating whether Jessica’s case might be related to that of another girl who was abducted for several hours Monday in Cody, Wyo.

Police explore link between missing Colorado girl and Wyoming abduction

Police discover human remains during a search for a missing Colorado girl. NBC's Jay Gray reports.

In that case, a man lured the 11-year-old girl into a sport utility vehicle, saying he needed help finding his puppy. The girl was released four hours later and was discovered by hunters. Police there are looking for a white man, between 55 and 60 years old, with short, strawberry-blond or white hair and a neatly trimmed mustache.

Westminster police spokeswoman Karlyn Tilley noted there is "no specific connection" between Jessica's disappearance and the Wyoming case. "It's just like everything else they're looking at," Tilley said Wednesday. "They just don't want to leave any stone unturned."

Adding to the mystery was a reported sighting more than 2,000 miles away in Dexter, Maine.

A woman reported seeing a girl who looked like Jessica on Sunday, in a blue Buick station wagon with Colorado plates. Authorities issued a statewide alert for officers to stop any blue Buick station wagons with Colorado plates, Dexter police Sgt. Alan Grinnell said.

Citizens also have passed on tips from Maryland, Texas and Nevada, Materasso said.

In Colorado, the parents of a missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway open up for the first time since their daughter disappeared on her way to school. They vow to "never stop looking." NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.

Police release new photos, video in search for missing Colorado girl

Backpack, water bottle found
Police in the Denver suburb of Westminster repeatedly have urged the public to study the details of Jessica’s face in a photo — a small, gap-toothed grin, a slight bruise on her nose — and a short home video, in hopes they may have seen something or come across the girl.

The only real clue police have revealed is the discovery over the weekend of a backpack and water bottle that Jessica had with her when she disappeared.

The items were found in the town of Superior, some six miles from her home. Police won't discuss what was found in the bag or testing results on it.

The search for Jessica went national, thanks in part to social media and a Facebook page set up to help find the girl.

"Do your good deed of the day and retweet Jessica's photo," hundreds of Tweets urged Wednesday.

Kathryn Scott Osler / The Denver Post via AP

After giving the interview, Jessica's mother Sarah Ridgeway and father, Jeremiah Bryant, embrace at the Westminster Police Department Tuesday.

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