Birgfeld saga moves closer to conclusion

The discovery of Paige Birgfeld’s remains this week in a desert gulch between Delta and Whitewater doesn’t end the mystery of what happened to the Grand Junction woman five years ago, but it does bring the strange saga closer to a conclusion.

While the discovery no doubt offers a measure of relief to her friends and family, it’s unlikely to bring the ultimate relief they seek. That is likely to come only after someone is arrested and convicted for her murder.

We sincerely hope law enforcement authorities and the district attorney are able to move the Birgfeld case toward that successful end, now that her remains have been found. But we recognize that substantial evidentiary difficulties may remain. Authorities are being understandably tight-lipped about exactly what evidence they have related to her death, which the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department has now classified as a homicide.

The story of Birgfeld’s disappearance and her life immediately before she vanished present a compelling tale that has drawn national attention. And for good reason.

Paige Birgfeld was an attractive mother of three young children. She sold Pampered Chef kitchen items through in-home sales parties. She was known and liked by many people in this community.

But she also quietly operated a private escort business on the side. And the only named suspect in her disappearance, Lester Ralph Jones, had been a client of that escort service.

Additionally, Birgfeld had two ex-husbands.

One of them, Rob Dixon, gained notoriety a few years before Paige disappeared for his investment advice to the Grand Junction Rural Protection Fire District, advice that led to the near bankruptcy of the district. There was early speculation that he might be a suspect.

Adding to the confusion, on June 28, 2007, the day she disappeared, Birgfeld met with her first husband, Howard Biegler, in Eagle. Three days later, Birgfeld’s burned-out car was found in an abandoned parking lot in Grand Junction.

An army of volunteers assisted the Sheriff’s Department in searching for Birgfeld’s body. Her grieving father, Frank Birgfeld, joined in much of the search.

The irony today is that searchers said they covered the very same area, Wells Gulch, where Birgfeld’s remains were discovered by hikers earlier this week.

Still, neither Frank Birgfeld nor the leaders of the volunteer search effort ever gave up on the idea that Paige would one day be found. That persistence was finally rewarded this week, even if it wasn’t one of them who made the discovery.

Meanwhile, we trust that law enforcement authorities will do everything legally possible to bring her killer to justice.


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