Bones don’t reveal how Birgfeld died

A Front Range specialist’s examination of Paige Birgfeld’s skeletal remains yielded no conclusions about how she died, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

“There is no readily identifiable cause of death in the investigation,” Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Matt Lewis said.

Lewis said the findings were part of a written report received over recent days by investigators, which was completed by Colorado State University forensic anthropologist Dr. Diane France, who examined the bones on March 22 in Fort Collins. France is the director of CSU’s laboratory for human identification.

Lewis declined to say what else was learned from the examination because the information was considered to be critical to the ongoing investigation. Unclear on Monday was how much closer things had moved toward a possible arrest in Birgfeld’s case.

“Certainly, it’s not something we’re looking at in the near future,” Lewis said of time frames. “We’ve gained a lot of information, some of which is still being processed and looked at.”

The Sheriff’s Department last week said a single tooth, discovered by a pair of hikers March 6 partially buried in a Delta County gulch, was matched to a profile of Birgfeld’s DNA. Authorities have remained tight-lipped on the results of other DNA and trace evidence analysis performed on unspecified personal items also pulled from the gulch, including suspected articles of Birgfeld’s clothing.

Recovered from Wells Gulch, a dry creek bed east of U.S. Highway 50 in north Delta County, were Birgfeld’s skull and lower jawbone, as well as the majority of the larger bones, officials have said. The remains make up roughly 70 percent of a complete skeleton.

Birgfeld, 34, was last heard from on June 28, 2007, driving from Eagle to Grand Junction.


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