Jessica Ridgeway, wooden cross
Courtesy Westminster Police Dept
10/23/2012 at 05:25 PM EDT
For the first time since the Oct. 5 abduction and murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway
, police have an important lead, including a connection to the attempted Memorial Day abduction of a jogger.
Police in Westminster, Colo., also have released a photo of a small wooden cross
with zigzag markings on one side, and three lines etched on the crossbar of the other side. Police say they recovered the cross during the investigation, and suggest it may have been worn by her killer.
In the attempted kidnapping case, a light-skinned man with a medium build and brown hair came up from behind a 22-year-old woman jogging by a lake and tried to grab her from behind and cover her mouth with a chemical-smelling rag. The woman escaped and called 911, but the attacker wasn't caught.
Police say they've "definitively made a connection between the Ketner Lake incident and the Jessica Ridgeway murder."
Police won't say exactly how they've connected the two cases because they need to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
Denver's KDVR-TV reports
that separate sources say the cases are connected by DNA gathered from Ridgeway's remains or from her backpack, which was recovered two days after her disappearance.