Prosecutors: Teen confesses in death of Colo. girl

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — 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 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.

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 are expected to formally charge him next week.

Jessica disappeared three weeks ago after leaving her home in the Denver suburb to walk to school. She never arrived. Her remains were found on Oct. 10.

Sigg was taken into custody late Tuesday after police received a phone call, apparently from his mother Mindy Sigg, who later told the Associated Press in a phone interview that he turned himself in.

“I made the phone call, and he turned himself in. That’s all I have to say,” she said before breaking down in tears and hanging up.

Authorities have released few details about their investigation, and court documents have been sealed. A police custody report said Sigg was cooperative when he was arrested and waived his rights, though his public defenders said during the hearing that the waivers had been revoked.

Former high school classmates painted a picture of Sigg as an intelligent teen who often wore black and complained about school but who would stay late sometimes to work on computers.

Sigg was interested in mortuary science and was taking forensics classes, said Rachel Bradley, 17, who attended Standley Lake High School with him.

At the time of his arrest, Sigg was enrolled at Arapahoe Community College, which offers the state’s only accredited mortuary science program.

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