Paige Birgfeld appeared to be the perfect wife and mother. The suburban soccer mom of three was working hard, running her own business and living for her family when she disappeared in 2008. Her family was stunned. How could this loving mom and loyal friend simply vanish without a trace? Did her ex-husband have something to do with it? And where was her body? It took nine years, but all of these questions would eventually be answered – and the result would stun Paige’s family and friends.
A Loving Mother
Paige Birgfeld was a wonderful mother who adored family gatherings. She was always ready to lend a helping hand to all who needed it. As a single mother whose former husband, Rob Dixon, had moved to Philadelphia, Paige became the sole caregiver for her three children seemingly without missing a beat. Then one day on June 28, 2007, Paige simply vanished. Her father Frank and step-mother Suzie knew that Paige would never have left on her own. They feared the worst.
Police started looking into Paige’s background and the first thing they discovered was that Dixon was not Paige’s first husband. Ten years earlier Paige had divorced Ron Beigler, who was her first love. Not only was he her first love, Beigler may have been her last. Shortly before her disappearance, the two had begun dating again. In fact, they had met at a rest stop halfway between their two cities on the day she disappeared.
Police made Beigler a person of interest. Paige had called him on her way back from their encounter, at around 9:00 pm., when she was just a few miles from home. The Birgfelds started their own investigation, not believing that Beigler was the most likely suspect. Police kept an eye on the family, but continued methodically interviewing people who had spent time with or contacted Paige in the hours before her death.
The Car is Discovered On Fire
Soon thereafter, police responded to a 911 call that a red Ford Focus was in flames at an empty lot. It was Paige’s car, the same one she was driving on the night she never came home. A few things stood out to detectives. First, the driver’s seat was all the way back, even though Paige had been just 5 feet 4 inches tall. Second, her planner was in the trunk with the last four pages ripped out, clearly by a person who did not want their identity revealed. Her body, however, was not inside the car.
As the plot thickened, police turned to husband #2 for answers. Rob Dixon had been a successful businessman when he married Paige, but it didn’t take long for his investments to fail. Paige picked up the slack by running a preschool dance company and becoming a top salesperson for The Pampered Chef. But Dixon spent money faster than Paige could bring it in. By 2006, Paige had called the police twice because of Dixon’s threatening behavior.
The 911 Calls
“My husband and I were in a fight and he wanted the children to stay with him and he said that I would come home and find them all murdered,” she told the 911 operator after the first incident.
Just a year later, Dixon was arrested for punching Paige while she was holding their baby. He completed a course in anger management, but the two divorced and Dixon declared bankruptcy and moved away.
Although police thought Dixon may have killed Paige, like Beigler, he had a solid alibi. Then, one month after the burning car was discovered, police found Paige’s belongings, including business cards and letterhead for a company called Models Inc., all scattered along a mile of highway near Grand Junction, Colorado.
That’s when police realized Paige had a secret life. Although her last call had been to Beigler, she had also received several calls that night from other people. As it turns out, they were all clients of Models, Inc., a secret escort business that Paige ran on the down-low.
For a Good Time, Call Carrie
That was when certain extraneous details about Paige’s background started to come together to paint a different picture. Paige had long had a love of dance, which she eventually turned into a business teaching children. However, this same passion also expressed itself in a different way when Paige became an exotic dancer shortly before she married her first husband.
When Paige’s second husband left for Philadelphia, Paige was desperate to remain a supermom and equally desperate to maintain their lifestyle. She drew on her dance background to dream up Models, Inc., which she ran from a separate office as well as from her home. Only a few of her friends knew about Paige’s double life.
Paige’s business took off quickly, with so much demand that at times she changed her voice on the phone so that clients thought she had a bigger stable of clients than she actually employed. More and more men were seeking Paige out by using her fake name – Carrie.
A Suspect Named “Jim”
Paige drew the line at having sex with any of the firm’s clients, but she did pick up occasional cash by doing private dances.By reconstructing the phone calls, police found many of the clients of Models Inc. That created a lot of extra police work, since they had to find and investigate each one. A ranch hand left Paige a message on the night of her disappearance, stating “This is John at the Motel 6. Just wondering if you’re coming out or not.” One man had paid over $14,000 for encounters with escorts, most of which had been by fraudulent checks. A cocaine addict named George Coralluzzo called Paige 20 times on the night she never came home, but he drowned in 2011.
Although these were all attractive suspects, none of them panned out. Then police found “Jim,” who had placed two calls to Paige on the night she went missing. Jim placed the calls from a local Walmart store, where he had gone to purchase a Tracfone. The Walmart surveillance tape ultimately gave police the first look at Paige’s killer. His name was Lester Jones.
Lester Jones had once been convicted of kidnapping and assaulting his ex-wife. Officers picked him up for questioning, quickly realizing that Jones’ second wife had been out of town on the night of Paige’s disappearance. Jones didn’t seem to have an alibi, admitting he had left his house between 9 and 10 pm, exactly when Paige received her last phone calls.
Jones was 6-foot 5-inches tall, which made him the right height to have been behind the wheel of the Ford Focus. Jones had also been working at an RV store that was conveniently located right across from the lot where the car had been found burning.
The Body is Revealed
When police searched the Jones workplace, they found incriminating evidence, like handwritten notes about escorts, the kind of sex they would agree to, wigs and viagra pills. Despite this evidence, there was no direct evidence linking him to Paige’s disappearance. As Frank Birgfeld remembers, the only reason Jones was not arrested was because there was still no sign of the body.
That changed in 2012 when a group of hikers found a human skull while on a hike 60 miles south of Paige’s home. There was duct tape around the jaw line to the back of the head. More bones were quickly found across a mile stretch of the dry creek bed. They belonged to Paige Birgfeld.
Jones on Trial
In September of 2016, Jones went on trial for murdering Paige. However, the jury came back hung, 6 to 3. Prosecutors felt that the jury was put off by Paige’s double life, but they did not relent. Jones’ first wife came forward with tales about the times when he beat her and threatened the lives of her boyfriends. She suspected Jones had killed Paige because he feared that his second wife was about to find out about Jones’ predilection for paid sex.
During the second trial, Jones had difficulty sorting through his lies. District Attorney Rubinstein told Crime Watch Daily, “First, he denied being at the Walmart at all. Then he said he was there to buy a soda. Ultimately, when shown the picture, he said he was there buying a Monster Cable.” Moreover, police dogs had tracked Jones’ scent to Paige’s car.
The Family She Left Behind
Jones’ defense lawyers decided to pursue a strategy that pinned the crime on the man who drowned back in 2011. Despite his lawyer’s’ efforts, Jones went in a completely different direction, stunningly admitting to killing Paige. Jones never explained his motives, but finally, in November of 2016, nearly 10 full years after her disappearance, Jones was convicted of murder. He was given a 65 year sentence.
Now Jones’ children must pick up the pieces left by their mother’s murder. The eldest child was just eight when her mother died. She had graduated high school by the time Jones was convicted. Now living with their grandparents, the children have a closer bond with their father, but say they will never forget the mother who would do anything to support them.