Aug. 6, 2007: Investigators unleash scent dogs in latest attempt to find Birgfeld
By MIKE SACCONE
The Daily Sentinel
A series of dogs brought in from Virginia to aid in the search for 34-year-old Paige Birgfeld led investigators to Bob Scott RV’s across 23 Road from the location where her burnt-out car was discovered July 1.
Birgfeld has been missing since June.
The dogs, which included a German shorthair and a golden Labrador from the Volunteer K-9 Scent Specific Search and Recovery Unit, of Virginia, were released several times Saturday near 727 Road 23, where Birgfeld’s red 2005 Ford Focus was discovered last month.
Each time, the dogs led their handlers east across 23 Road, south along the road and to the dealership’s front door.
Lester Ralph Jones, 56, who has been named a “person of interest” in the Birgfeld case and has served prison time for a 1999 Delta County kidnapping, works at the RV dealership.
Sgt. Wayne Weyler asked reporters Saturday to hold off on reporting on the dogs, saying: “We don’t want to tip off the suspect.”
Weyler declined to name “the suspect.”
Jones’ home, at 3072 Hill Ave., has been searched at least twice during the course of the Birgfeld investigation.
Norma Mestas, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department, said Weyler was in error when he referred to “a person of interest” on Saturday as a “suspect.” She declined to comment further.
According to a news release from the Sheriff’s Department, the dogs also were taken to Kannah Creek near U.S. Highway 50, where several of Birgfeld’s belongings were discovered last month.
The release states the dogs from the volunteer unit specialize in following “secondary scents, aged trails and car trails.” Mestas declined to comment on what the dogs uncovered for investigators.
She said no search warrants or arrest warrants had been issued in the case over the past couple days.
Birgfeld, a local mother of three and escort who went by the name “Carrie,” was last seen June 28.
Since her disappearance, volunteers have searched parts of Mesa and Delta counties looking for evidence. Full-time organized searches ended last week.