July 16, 2007: Missing woman’s belongings found

The Daily Sentinel

WHITEWATER —  People who were searching for clues Sunday about the disappearance of Paige Birgfeld discovered some of her belongings near U.S. Highway 50 southeast of Whitewater.

MSNBC reported that Birgfeld’s father, Frank Birgfeld, told the network Sunday morning that searchers had found some of Birgfeld’s personal checks along a two-mile stretch of U.S. 50.

But Frank Birgfeld said Sunday evening he didn’t know what searchers found.

“MSNBC told me (the search team) found it,” he said of Birgfeld’s checkbook.

Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said Sunday morning he could not confirm checks were found, but he acknowledged some of Birgfeld’s “personal items” had been discovered.

He said he would not discuss the specifics of the items found.

Birgfeld was reported missing June 30, and her burned car was found at 727 Road 23 in a parking lot on July 1.

About 10 sheriff’s deputies and 40 volunteers from the Abby and Jennifer Recovery Foundation were participating in the search Sunday, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Gierhart said.

“We’re searching the roadway — both sides of the road,” Hilkey said.

“The items are limited to a short distance.” He added: “Are other items in the area within the same distance?”

Searchers were trying to find items scattered along the highway outside of the two-mile stretch where some were discovered earlier Sunday.

“We don’t have any idea at the moment about where Paige is at,” Hilkey said.

Frank Birgfeld, enduring tripe-digit heat, awaited news Sunday of the search for his daughter at the Lands End Fire Department building in Whitewater.

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” he said. “The emotions are really a roller coaster.”

Motorists along U.S. Highway 50 were warned of heavy search-related pedestrian traffic along a 20-mile stretch of the highway southeast of Whitewater.

Hilkey said the 20 miles were identified on signs along the highway “to keep traffic safe.”


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