Reports that the body of Paige Birgfeld have been found are still awaiting confirmation. At this time the most up to date information does confirm that a body has found, it has certain characteristics that indicate this is the body of Paige Birgfeld, but until testing and dental record comparisons are completed at this point it is still speculation. The story of Paige Birgfeld is one that was once well known but has slipped out of the public consciousness until this discovery.
Paige Birgfeld was a 34 year old mom that was dedicated to her three children by all accounts when she went missing on June 28 of 2007. The initial theory that floated around was foul play as nobody could believe Birgfeld would pull up stakes and leave her family unannounced, yet there seemed to be no reason anyone would want her dead which meant they had to look outside of the usual suspects. That investigation however uncovered a Paige Birgfeld nobody knew.
Birgfeld had divorced her husband the previous year, and while he was an early suspect, he was also across the country in Philadelphia closing off that angle. The story just started getting interesting then as it was revealed Paige had been married twice, her first husband being her high school boyfriend, Ron Biegler whom had been seeing her on and off for a few months prior to her disappearance according to Birgfeld’s father.
Biegler called the sheriff's department to report her missing and press for an investigation which in turn made him a prime suspect as he was the last person known to see or speak to Paige Birgfeld. Rather quickly, Biegler was basically cleared, and Birgfelds friends and family started pushing to look at her second husband closer - maybe he wasn’t really in Philadelphia at the time she went missing. He had a history being physically rough with her as well. It had to be worth looking closer at in their eyes.
It wasn’t until three days after Birgfeld went missing that her car was found burned in an empty lot. What was curious was that upon investigation they concluded the fire was set from inside the vehicle on the passengers side. The fire tipped the police off that whoever stared the fire was smart enough to know to take steps to destroy evidence.
Dixon, her second husband, came from money but squandered it and ran his business ventures into the ground. Even when Birgfeld started working two jobs and doing quite well, Dixon would spend money faster than they could make it to the point they nearly lost everything they had. Dixon was a Jekyll/Hyde personality that was either very sweet or volcanic as evidenced by when he threatened to murder their children during a 2004 argument as was related to a 911 operator. That was the year Dixon began getting free with his hands, and by 2005 his violence escalated to the point the hit his wife while she holding their baby in her arms. He was arrested but released after attending anger management courses.
They divorced in 2006 which was plenty of time for Dixon to go bankrupt and move east. All indications pointed to Dixon however he still insisted he was 2,000 miles away at the time and that pretty much ruined him as a prime suspect.
After professionals and volunteers conducted search after search day after day, they found her cheek book and video store membership card on the side of the highway about 15 miles from where her car was found. While that discovery provided hope, when forensic technicians began digging deeper into her life the found that Paige Birgfeld was also “Carrie” a high end escort that advertised online. What was more shocking than Birgfeld being an escort was the list of activities she would participate in.
While Birgfeld’s sister-in-law knew what the score was - or at the minimum had a strong suspicion - she said nothing about this at first. In fact she knew that when Birgfeld was 21 and living in Denver she was a stripper - a secret that was not known by the rest of her family. Suddenly Snow White wasn’t quite as pure as had been thought, but it did not make her a bad person or parent - just one with secrets. Secrets that should not have been big enough to die for.
Once the police had this new information hey were able to refine their search because they had an idea who they were looking for finally. By pulling her phone records they located a regular client of her escort services that seemed of interest. When they found out that he worked right across the street from where Paige’s car was found at an RV shop the search dogs led the police to at the time they car was discovered it all seemed to fall into place. Right away 56 year old Lester Ralph Jones had some explaining to do. Jones denied ever talking to or seeing Birgfeld the night she died, but he was caught on a surveillance camera buying a throw away cellular phone that they could trace to being the same phone that called Birgfeld that night. Add to that Jones had a history of violence which resulted in three years behind bars at one point and it looked like they had their killer.
Time passed and Paige Birgfeld’s body remained unfound. When the weather allowed there would be some searches, but they were mostly limited to a few family members. The idea that Birgfeld just up and ran arose from time to time, but that can be dismissed with some certainty as she wouldn’t have left and not taken the tens of thousands of dollars in cash she had stashed in her house. Without a body there could be no murder charge so Jones had to be released.
Now 34 months later what may very well be the body of Paige Birgfeld has been found. A new round of investigations can begin, and if forensic science is willing a murderer may be brought to justice, or at the least her remaining family may find some answers and closure.
CBS TV - 48 Hours