Colorado

10-year-old murdered so teen could prove he was smarter than investigators

October 5, 2012
Westminster, Colorado
Austin Sigg (17) kidnaps, sexually assaults, strangled, and dismembers 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway

Sigg, an avid forensic and mortuary sciences enthusiast, believed he could outsmart investigators with his horrific crime. He waited in a parked vehicle for Jessica to pass, just feet from her home, grabbed her, and bound her hands with zip ties. He drove her to his house and brought her to his bedroom. According to forensic evidence, Jessica had bruising and cuts indicative of sexual assault, though Sigg denied this during his cross examination by the defense.

He claims to have turned cartoons on for Jessica to keep her calm. He also admitted to lying to her when she asked questions, such as telling her she would be fine and he wouldn’t hurt her. He gave her new clothes to replace the urine-soaked ones she had even wearing, then told her to turn away from him. When she complied, he tried to strangle her with another zip tie. He confessed he didn’t have enough “leverage” with the tie to sufficiently suffocate Jessica, so he used his hands, strangling her for approximately 3 minutes. He claimed he saw her lifeless form twitch afterwards, so he filled a tub with scalding water and held her head underwater until he was satisfied she had died.

Sigg then dismembered Jessica’s body in the tub and hid her remains in his mother’s pool house for a few days before discarding them in a garbage bag which he tossed off a highway. Before disposing of Jessica’s body, Sigg attempted to destroy all DNA evidence which could be linked back to him, and offered his DNA to investigators believing nothing to be found. It did take two attempts to find a useable DNA sample, but investigators were able to obtain a partial DNA profile.

Investigators were also able to find trace DNA on Jessica’s belongings which had been dumped, and were also able to link Sigg’s DNA to an attempted abduction of a jogger 4 months before. When Sigg heard reports from local news stating a link between the two cases had been established, Sigg confessed to his mother what he had done. Ms. Sigg immediately contacted police and Sigg was arrested, tried, and convicted. As he was 17 at the time of the murder, he was immune from a possible death sentence; he was sentenced to life in prison November 19, 2013.

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