2,000 people celebrate life of Jessica Ridgeway

Public memorial held in Arvada Tuesday

Lindsay Watts, Weekend GMC Anchor/Target 13 Investigator , l.watts@krdo.com
POSTED: 11:11 PM MDT Oct 16, 2012    UPDATED: 11:42 PM MDT Oct 16, 2012 
ARVADA, Colo. -

More than 2,000 people gathered in Arvada Tuesday to remember the life of murder victim Jessica Ridgeway.

Many attending the public memorial at Faith Bible Church wore purple, the 10-year-old's favorite color.

"She would really love all this purple," said Gay Moore, Jessica's aunt.

Those in the crowd who didn't know Jessica learned a little more about her short life. Family and friends said she loved to dance, play with her pets and tell knock-knock jokes. A slideshow featured one of the girl's favorite songs, 'Call Me Maybe.'

"Up in heaven right now, there's a beautiful little girl looking down on everyone, flying with her silver wings," said family friend Heidi Caswell.

Family urged attendees not to mourn Jessica, but to celebrate her.

"We will remember every moment spent with her. Every smile she shared, every second spent hoping and praying she would come home," said Jessica's cousin Nick Pesavento. "But most of all, we will remember the way she lives on within us."

Relatives and friends acknowledged that many at the memorial never knew Jessica. They said they were happy to share her life with so many.

"Jessica has become everyone's little girl," said Pesavento. "She has brought a community, a state and a nation together."

Governor John Hickenlooper also spoke at the memorial, telling the crowd that hundreds of law enforcement officers were working around the clock, "just committing their entire being to Jessica" in their efforts to find her killer.

To date, investigators have received about 4,000 tips from the public.