I’ve been somewhat following the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway from Westminster, Colorado. When I saw the news a body had been found but not identified I had the sinking feeling it was her. There were tons of comments on a Facebook page along the lines of “oh praying it’s not her” etc and I’m sitting here thinking well, even if it isn’t her – it’s still someone!
My senior year of college I was offered a job in Denver and took a crazy road trip with my parents there to interview and check the place out. The apartment that I found was in Westminster and it was such a pretty area. Ultimately, I was talked out of that great journey but that’s a post for another day.
Prior to coming to the adoption side of CPS, I worked with kids still in the home with their biological family. I saw a lot of neglect and occasionally horrific abuse. And more often than I like to recall – abuse or neglect that ended in the death of a child.
A child dying is terrible no matter what the circumstance. But a child ripped away at the hands of a predator makes me sick. I think as a country – we’ve seen so many cases of parents killing kids, or step-parents, or mom’s overnight friend or whatever being responsible that we’ve become complacent that crazy people are still out there. There’s definitely a chance that the perpetrator is someone she knew but at this point it could have been a total stranger. I’ve seen several comments and articles that there has been a man attempting to lure children in the area for awhile.
Bad things can and do happen. Any parent that is naive to this needs to wake up. Stories like this make me sick to my stomach and make me think that I’ll never let Katelyn more than a few feet away from me until she’s 50. Stranger danger needs to be taught to kids as early as possible. There’s got to be a way to teach your kids to be safe while not terrifying them of life.
I don’t know how or when I’ll find that balance but I pray that I am able. I don’t want to be a “helicopter” mom and Katelyn to never learn independence but I will also ensure her safety as much as I possibly can, for as long as she’ll let me.
And I should clarify I am in no way blaming her mother in this as I’ve seen others do. She will live with an unimaginable horror for the rest of her life and I won’t add to that. I truly hope this baby girl didn’t suffer for very long. This has got to stop. We shouldn’t be burying babies because monsters walk among us. We need to step it up. Report suspicious people, watch each other’s children. Ensure children who are too young to protect themselves are protected.
If there’s one thing that gets me going it is child abuse. And that’s probably why I do what I do. And the death of a child at the hands of a human is inexcusable. Period.
I hope they find the person(s) responsible quickly. I fear that if they don’t this neighborhood will forever be fearful. But what I do know is that what I’ve seen the past few days is that this community has come together in the most beautiful, supportive way possible and had I decided to move there – I would have been proud to call it home.
Rest in peace Jessica. May your death not be in vain.