The kidnapping and slaying of fifth-grader Jessica Ridgeway in the fall of 2012 stunned residents of the Denver suburb of Westminster, who feared for the safety of their own children. Eighteen-year-old Austin Sigg entered his guilty plea Tuesday.
Remains of Jessica were found in Sigg’s home after her torso was discovered in a park in October of last year. Jessica was last seen walking to school on Oct. 5, 2012.
“Hundreds of police and residents searched for her, and parents escorted their children to and from school. The FBI asked residents to report suspicious behavior by friends, neighbors and even family members,” says the AP report.
In the video, taken last year, Jessica’s great-grandmother had strong words for the feelings she felt when Sigg confessed to the gruesome slaying.
“I don’t think I can look at this person, into his face and not be judgmental. I think it’s all I’ve got within me to not want to just burn him, and I mean burn him,” said Donna Moss.
Sigg confessed to his mother that he was responsible, and later made a full confession to police, telling investigators in great detail about what happened to Jessica and informing them that her remains were inside a crawl space under his parent’s home.
Those who knew Austin called him a loner who was infatuated with death.
Lucas Goodrich, one of Austin’s peers throughout middle and high school, said there was always something a little “off” with Austin’s behavior.
“There was always something wrong with him,” Goodrich said. “He was always one of the kids in the class who was really smart, but he would be by himself. He’d talk to himself and just act really awkward around people.”
Sigg attended Arapahoe Community College for mortuary sciences and forensics. Arapahoe Community College classmate Hannah Bane described Sigg’s interests as morbid.
“He was so infatuated with the idea of death. That’s just the feeling I got,” Bane said.
Now, nearly one year later, Austin Sigg formally pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, murder and dismemberment. The plea on just the first-degree murder charge will send him to prison for life with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
A two-day sentencing hearing has been scheduled to start on Nov. 18.