As the Jessica Ridgeway case continues its transition from a missing persons case to a search for her kidnapper and killer, the online community that's sprung up to support the family of the ten-year-old Westminster girl is undergoing changes as well, with a new Facebook page becoming an online gathering place and its predecessor transforming into a web nexus for information about other missing children. Get details below.
The Missing Jessica Ridgeway page sprang up in the immediate aftermath of Jessica's October 5 disappearance, soon collecting in excess of 35,000 likes. The discovery of her body in an Arvada open-space area necessitated a shift from a search for information about her whereabouts to grieving. But the community feeling surrounding the page remains, as is clear from this recent post, with accompanying photo, about the dismantling of a volunteer command post.
"Good morning! I wanted to share this picture with all of you that have been following this page. Our volunteer/community command post will be gone today. It will be bitter sweet for all of us that spent so many hours here as we distributed flyers, formed a family, strengthened a community, LIVED at this site. We made it a place that we could remember as being "Jessica's Home". I personally will never be able to drive past this location without so many feeling, both good and bad. Our goal in setting up a foundation, in Jessica's memory, is that no family will be alone when a child goes missing, that every person in the community and surrounding communities will know what that child looks like, that every community will have a group of people that will do what we were able to do in the same manner in which we were able to do it. We want to build strong communities and offer support when tragedy strikes. If Jessica could leave us with one request, what do you think it would be? I'm sure she would ask that every child be kept safe and every family had the support of their community if this was to every happen to another child. Fly high baby girl, you have strengthen us and we will make you proud."
Information about Jessica continues to be posted on the page, including a slew of photos from a memorial cruise and ride over the weekend; a number of them are on view below. But there are also plenty of posts about other missing children from across the country. Here's an example:
Missing From: King of Prussia, PA Missing Date: 10/22/2012 12:00 AM Eastern Issued for: Pennsylvania: Statewide Contact: If you have information, please contact Upper Merion Township Police Department, 610-265-3232 Circumstances: The Pennsylvania State Police has issued an Amber Child Abduction Alert for the Upper Merion Township Police Department, Montgomery County The Upper Merion Township Police Department is searching for Saavni VENNA, Asian Indian, Female, 10 months old, 2 6, 21 pounds, white dress with pink flowers, black hair, brown eyes, unknown jewelry She was last seen at the Marquis Apartments, 251 West Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, 19406, between 0800-1300 today. She has been reported abducted by an unknown subject(s) during a homicide, the suspect and vehicle information is unknown at this time. Anyone with information about the abduction should immediately contact the police by calling 911. Missing Child Name: Saavni Venna Alias: Hair Color:Black Eye Color: Brown Skin Color: Asian Indian Age: 10 months old Height: 2 feet 6 inches Weight: 21 pounds Gender: Female Description: The child was last seen wearing a white dress with pink flowers.
Meanwhile, a new Facebook page affiliated with Jessica has sprung up: Justice for Jessica! Here's how the page, which already has nearly 8,000 likes, introduced itself to visitors:
There are a lot of new fans to the page, so I want to be sure everyone knows how we handle comments on this page.
The WPD [Westminster Police Department] are trying to keep as much secret from public as possible for when they catch him to get a conviction, but they need our help in finding out who this killer is because he's NOT a family friend, relative etc.
The news reports are doing their jobs too. They're trying to get answers that everyone keeps asking, over and over. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that information gets leaked to the media that is then leaked to the public. It is what it is.
It goes without saying that any negative comments about the family will not be tolerated.
Please stay positive -- it's personal when you criticize the people who are doing everything in their power to keep everyone safe! Please remember to be courteous. You can have your opinions, but any negative opinions you have about the family or the people investigating this case need to be kept to yourselves. I will delete any I see, as will the other admins on this page. Thank you!
As new developments in the search for Jessica's murderer continue to surface, Justice for Jessica! members are keeping in touch via photos, graphics, poems and notes of reassurance. Expect their number to grow, given how many people have been touched by this disturbing case.
Look below to see photos from this weekend's memorial ride:
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More from our Follow That Story archive: "Jessica Ridgeway case: Link to earlier Ketner Lake assault attempt confirmed."