Station wagon in Portsmouth not connected to missing Colorado girl
Portsmouth police were called to an area behind the Lafayette Road Wal-Mart around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning to check on a vehicle that was possibly associated with the case of Jessica Ridgeway, a 10-year-old Colorado girl who has been missing since Oct. 5.
A similar vehicle was also spotted on Oct. 7 in Dexter, Maine, with a female in it who appeared similar in age and description to Ridgeway, police said.
The older-model Buick station wagon with Colorado license plates was found parked near two industrial buildings off Constitution Avenue behind Wal-Mart Thursday morning.
Portsmouth police treated the vehicle as a possible crime scene and also conducted a K-9 search in the area. The car was impounded and transported to a secure facility at the Portsmouth Police Department.
Local detectives worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as Colorado and Maine authorities to determine the likelihood of any connection with the Colorado case.
'At this time we are confident that the vehicle and the child that was the source of the tip have nothing to do with the Colorado case,' Deputy Police Chief Corey MacDonald said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.
He said Portsmouth police located the owners of the vehicle, searched the vehicle and released it.
Earlier story follows:
PORTSMOUTH - Police are investigating any possible links between an abandoned blue station wagon found in the city this morning with a suspected child abduction in Colorado last week.
According to various news reports today, Colorado authorities found an unidentified body a few miles from where 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway disappeared last week while walking a short distance to school.
In Portsmouth, the older-model Buick station wagon with Colorado license plates was found parked near two industrial buildings off Constitution Avenue behind Wal-Mart.
Portsmouth Police Sgt. David Keaveny said Colorado authorities received a tip that has not yet been corroborated about a vehicle with that description being involved in the abduction.
'However, they can't substantiate any of that information right now,' Keaveny said. 'We are holding onto the vehicle, but it is unlikely it is related.'
Keaveny said the station wagon is the same vehicle spotted in Maine Sunday.
He said they have identified the owners of the vehicle but are not releasing that information.
Keaveny said they received a tip around 8:30 a.m. Thursday that the vehicle was parked behind Wal-Mart.
A description of the vehicle had been released via various news outlets.
The area was cordoned off for less than two hours this morning as police looked for any other evidence at the scene.
Police also conducted a K-9 track and will be pulling surveillance from cameras in the back area of the industrial park, Keaveny said.
He said police are currently trying to contact the owners of the vehicle and working with Colorado and federal agencies about where they want to go next.
'It is unlikely that it is related, but there is a one percent chance it is so we are making sure we're doing everything we can,' Keaveny said. 'I'm sure they are getting a lot of tips like this.'
He said there are a number of reasons they do not believe the vehicle is linked to the abduction, based on what they are hearing from other law enforcement agencies, but he did not offer details.
'We have a small piece of this. We are waiting to hear back from the agencies that are involved about what they want to do. Essentially, we're here to help,' Keaveny said.