No matter who you are, the phrase “soccer mom” will likely conjure up the same images. Perhaps you picture a woman who has everything perfectly organized. Or maybe you see the mom who never misses her kids’ games and who’s always carting around four or five members of the team in her minivan. However, titles and appearances can sometimes be very deceiving.
To most who knew her, Paige Birgfeld of Colorado was superstar soccer mom; she was a working, single mother of three who did everything in her power to provide for her children. But Paige had a secret, and her perfect soccer-mom façade all unraveled when she left home one night to go out on a date…
Paige Birgfield was raising her three kids—Taft, Kohl, and Jess—all by herself in Grand Junction, Colorado. She’d taken on the challenge of caring for them as a single mom after divorcing her abusive second husband. She worked tirelessly to provide for them.
To get by, Paige ran several businesses out of her home, selling house goods and baby supplies. At one point, she even opened a dance school! Still, busy as Paige was, she never complained about her duties.
Paige’s daughter, Jess, described her as a true “soccer mom” who would drop everything if it meant helping her kids. However, Paige had a secret—one she hid from everyone except a few close friends. In 2007, that secret started to unravel.
On June 27, 2007, Paige left her kids with a nanny while she traveled 120 miles to have a picnic with Howard Biegler, her first husband (not the children’s father). Paige and Howard hoped to rekindle their relationship, and after a nice date, Paige left at about 9 p.m. to go back home.
However, when Howard attempted to call Paige later, she didn’t answer her phone. He called again and again over the next few days, and each time, her phone went directly to voicemail. Concerned, he called eight-year-old Jess to see if she’d put him in touch with her mother.
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Jess hadn’t seen her mother for a few days, either, so Howard immediately told her to contact the police. By the next night, the authorities had made a terrifying discovery: Paige’s Ford Focus had been set on fire and left on the side of the road just three miles from her home. Her checks and business cards littered the nearby road.
The police were baffled. What motive would someone have to harm this hardworking single mother? Their investigation ongoing, authorities dug into Paige’s life, including her business dealings. That was when they learned something truly shocking…
The police discovered that Paige had another business—a more secretive one than selling housewares. She’d been running an escort service out of her home, providing men with sex for money. When Paige’s father found out, he said, “I can’t tell you how negatively I would have responded.”
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The police also discovered that, during her twenties, Paige had worked as a stripper and an exotic dancer. Desperate for money after divorcing her first husband, she’d turned to escorting.
While Paige did employ other women to go on dates with men, she also went out on these encounters herself. She told her friends that she never had sex with the men, though she claimed to offer services such as “escort, erotic massage [and] private dancer.”
As her confidant and good friend Jamie Silvernail put it, “There is a very clear line between legal and illegal, and she made sure that line was never crossed. She knew if she crossed that line, she could jeopardize her kids.”
After learning about Paige’s secret business, the police began investigating her former clients. Unfortunately, they turned up nothing. Her family kept searching, too, desperate to bring Paige home. It wasn’t until 2012 that a hiker made a tragic discovery…
While out exploring in Delta County, the hiker stumbled across bones in a dried-out creek bed. Using dental records, authorities determined that the remains belonged to Paige. Suddenly, their missing-person case turned into a murder investigation.
It wasn’t long before the police started suspecting Lester Ralph Jones, a mechanic from Colorado who’d been considered a “person of interest” since Paige first disappeared. Lester was a client of hers—and one of the last people to contact her.
The night Paige disappeared, Lester had strangely left his house late in the evening, telling his wife that he’d forgotten to turn off the lights at work. When police searched his home, they found a toolbox full of suspicious items, such as a list of escort names, numbers, and bra sizes.
More telling, Lester had already been behind bars, having served a five-year sentence for first-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping. Meanwhile, the story he gave police about what he was doing the night of Paige’s murder kept changing…
Lester was arrested in 2014 and he finally stood trial in September 2016. Unfortunately, the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict in the case, so the judge declared a mistrial. Lester’s second trial was scheduled for December 2016. It was an agonizing process for everyone who loved Paige.
This time, however, Paige’s family finally got the justice they had hoped for: Lester was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His sentencing wouldn’t bring Paige back, but it was justice all the same. Still, the question remained: why had he done it?
That information was either unknown or never made explicitly clear, but scent-sniffing dogs placed Lester in Paige’s car. The mechanic also couldn’t explain the can of gasoline that was discovered on his desk. All of that was enough for the jury to convict him.
The Mesa County prosecutor’s office weighed in when all was said and done. “While this verdict will not bring Paige Birgfeld back to her family, we are happy it will give her family closure.” Her family agreed.
The guilty ruling still left Paige’s three children without their mother, but at least they knew the man who took her life was now behind bars. Still, no one could believe that this normal soccer mom had been involved in such awful activities!
Paige just wanted to provide for her family and spend all the time she could enjoying life with the people she loved, especially her children. Thank goodness the man who took her life is behind bars.
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