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Crime & Courts

Community gathers to honor slain Colorado girl as search continues for predator

More than 1,000 people gathered in Westminster on Saturday to remember the life of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway after a weeklong search turned up the girl's body in a suburban Denver park.

The Denver Post reports most of the people who stood in a parking lot in the rain and wind had never met the fifth-grader. Still, they joined hands and prayed together before releasing enough purple balloons that the gray sky was, for a brief moment, masked in Jessica's favorite color.

“There is a predator at large in our community. We are doing everything in our power to apprehend that predator,” said Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk.

The girl was last seen beginning a short walk from her home to Witt Elementary School the morning of Oct. 5.

On Wednesday, authorities discovered a body in an Arvada park about 7 miles west of her Westminster home. They announced Friday that the body was Jessica's.

Jessica's family has not made a statement since the announcement, KDVR reports. Anyone who wants to make a donation to the Ridgeway family can visit

Click for updates from KDVR.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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