Authorities identify body in field as missing Colorado girl

jessica ridgeway

(CNN) — A 10-year-old Colorado girl reported missing one week ago is dead, police said Friday.

Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk told reporters that a body found earlier this week “has been positively identified” as that of young Jessica Ridgeway.

“The family has been notified,” Birk said. “We can’t begin to comprehend the grief that they are going through.”

Jessica was last seen by her mother as she left for school. Authorities then issued a statewide Amber Alert for the girl.

With Friday’s news, law enforcement are now shifting their focus from a search for Jessica to a manhunt for the person, they say, who abducted and killed her.

Birk acknowledged that authorities “recognize that there is a predator at large in our community.”

“We are doing everything within our power to apprehend that individual,” he said.

CNN contributed to this report

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