Paige Birgfeld’s ‘cheffer’ friends share pain of loss

Back on July 2, 2007, J.R. Manning typed the words “One of our own is missing” as he notified friends and colleagues that Paige Birgfeld was missing and that circumstances of her disappearance were violent.

Manning, who never met Birgfeld and who has never visited western Colorado, has tracked every public step of the investigation into her disappearance.

Most of those days the Milwaukee-area resident posted under the name “The Kitchen Guy” to chefsuccess.com the frustrating, monotonous phrase: “There were no new developments in Paige’s case yesterday. No news, no new developments.”

The site is used by Pampered Chef consultants for encouragement, news of the close-knit community of “cheffers” and developments that affected them, individually or collectively.

Finally, on Thursday, Manning shattered the monotony of “no news,” typing in “There was a major development yesterday in the case of missing Cheffer and friend, Paige Birgfeld. Paige’s body has been found.”

The discovery summed up the same feelings of ambivalence on chefsuccess.com that it did among Birgfeld’s other friends and acquaintances.

“I guess this is one of those things that you hoped wouldn’t turn out like this,” Mommyhugz1978 from the Pacific Northwest wrote when she saw the latest development. “Rest in Peace, Paige.”

About two years ago, Manning was tempted to reduce his updates to one per week.

“It was starting to get pretty discouraging,” Manning said in a telephone interview, but his regular readers insisted on the daily updates.

He became acquainted with Birgfeld when, on the same site, a “flame war” erupted, Manning said.

“Paige and I stood up in defense of this poor person getting lynched and that’s how I got to know her,” Manning said. “I was just getting to know her when she disappeared.”

The discovery of Birgfeld’s remains will do nothing to slow Manning and his daily updates, even if, at some point the daily post reverts to “No news, no new developments.”

He’ll keep up “until we know what happened and who done it,” Manning said. “I don’t think I can quite let this rest. Until her murderer is brought to justice and exhausted all his appeals and is in prison, I can’t rest.”



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