The disappearance of a young mother exposes a double life
Paige Birgfeld, 34, a Colorado mother of three, went missing on June 28, 2007.
The single mother had left her children with a live-in babysitter while she went to go see a friend; she never returned. Family and friends said Paige lived for her children and would have never left them.
As investigators searched for the missing mom, the community of Grand Junction, Colorado, rallied in response. They got maps of the area and divided the land into quadrants and organized searches hoping to find some sign of Paige.
Frank Birgfeld was touched by the volunteer search effort and went to the command center every day to personally thank everyone who went out hour after hour in the punishing summer heat. It was an impressive effort -- searches were done on foot, by ATV, on horseback, by divers, and in the air.
Twice married, Paige Birgfeld was single at the time of her disappearance. Investigators made contact with her friends, family, and ex-spouses and were able to cross them all off the list of possible suspects.
So who in Paige's life had any motive to harm her? That led investigators to an even bigger mystery ... one about Paige herself that may have led to her disappearance.
It turned out that Paige wasn't just teaching dance classes and selling kitchen products to support her children. In provocative ads on the Internet, she was also known as "Carrie," a high-priced escort.
When investigators discovered her secret life, they thought they had a clue to her disappearance. They began tracing Birgfeld's cellphone records, which led them to her clients. One stuck out as a suspect, an ex-convict named Lester Ralph Jones, but there wasn't enough evidence to charge him.
In July 2007, deputies from the Mesa County Sheriff's Office gathered items found by searchers near the bottom of Whitewater Hill along northbound Highway 50 near Grand Junction, Colo., that might have belonged to Paige Birgfeld.
Her remains were found in March 2012 by a hiker in the Wells Gulch area of Delta County, Colo.