GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado teenager has confessed in the abduction and killing of a 10-year-old girl and in a separate attack on a runner, prosecutors said Thursday.
The suspect, 17-year-old Austin Reed Sigg, made his first court appearance Thursday in the death of Jessica Ridgeway and an assault on a 22-year-old female runner in May.
Austin kept head bowed for much of the time, talking with his attorney but otherwise saying little.
He made eye contact at one point with Jessica’s relatives, who were in the courtroom wearing purple ribbons in the girl’s memory.
District Attorney Scott Storey said the law prevents prosecutors from seeking the death penalty because Austin is a juvenile, even though he is being prosecuted as an adult.
Police in the Denver suburb of Westminster said they took Austin into custody Tuesday night after receiving a phone call, apparently from his mother, that led them to him.
Reached by phone, Austin’s mother told The Associated Press he turned himself in.
“I made the phone call, and he turned himself in. That’s all I have to say,” said Mindy Sigg before she broke down in tears and hung up.
Authorities said Austin also will face charges in the May 28 attempted kidnapping of the 22-year-old runner at the Ketner Lake Open Space. Police have said the two crimes are connected, but they haven’t elaborated.
In the May case, a woman fought off a stranger who grabbed her from behind and put a rag that smelled of chemicals over her mouth, authorities said. Police haven’t determined if the substance on the rag was meant to subdue the woman.
Authorities have released few details about their investigation, and court documents have been sealed. A police custody report said Austin was cooperative when he was arrested and waived his rights.
Acquaintances have said Austin was interested in mortuary science and forensic science, often wore black and hung out in the high school cafeteria’s “goth corner.”
Austin later attended Standley Lake High School while also taking classes at Warren Tech, a district school that offers specialized training in health science, public safety, technology and other fields.