When you hear the words “soccer mom,” certain images definitely come to find. You picture a woman who has everything together. A woman who never misses her child’s games, and who always puts her kids first.
However, appearances can sometimes be very deceiving. To most who saw her, Paige Birgfeld was just another soccer mom, a working single mother of three who would do anything to create the best life possible for her children.
Little did the people in her life know that Paige was hiding a major secret. When she left home one night to go on a date and never came back, the police would later discover that she had been leading a double life, one that would end in tragedy.
When Paige Birgfeld, an organized and loving “super-mom” was missing for two days, it was her daughter Jess who insisted that her nanny call the police. Little did Jess know that her mother was gone forever, and that her absence would leave a trail of secrets that would change everything she thought she knew about her devoted mother.
Paige Birgfeld was 34 years old when she disappeared in 2007. She lived in Grand Junction, Colorado, a happy and energetic single mom to her three kids, Taft, Kohl and Jess. She’d been divorced twice, and her second husband, Robert Dixon, was the father of her children.
Paige worked day and night to provide a comfortable life for her three children. She ran several businesses out of her home selling house goods and baby supplies. She even opened a dance school! How did she get it all done?
Her daughter Jess describes her mother Paige as being a true “soccer mom.” She would drop everything if it meant helping her kids in any way. But there was more to her mom than she knew, and soon Paige’s shocking double life would be revealed in the most tragic way possible.
On Thursday June 28, 2007, she traveled over 120 miles for a date with 37-year-old Howard Biegler, her first husband. The date actually seemed to go quite well. Just after 9:00 p.m., she called Biegler to tell him that she was almost home.
But Paige never made it home that Thursday night. Because Paige kept such unusual hours managing her different small businesses, her friends and even her own employees didn’t think anything of her absence until her daughter, Jess, made them call the police.
The next night the police 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. They discovered checks and business cards that belonged to Paige littering the road.
The police were baffled as to why anyone would want to do anything that might bring harm to his hardworking single mother of three. They began to look into Paige’s life, including her business dealings. That’s when they learned something truly shocking…
The police discovered that Paige had been running an escort service out of her home, providing men with sex for money. No one knew what Paige was doing except for a handful of friends. She even kept it a secret from her family. When her father found out, he said, “I can’t tell you how negatively I would have responded.”
That was just the tip of the iceberg. The police also discovered that during her 20s, Paige had worked as a stripper and exotic dancer.When she divorced her first husband, she was desperate for money and that’s when she began escorting.
While Paige employed other women for whom she arranged dates with men, she also went out on these encounters herself. She told her friends that she would never have sex with the men, though she claimed to offer services such as “escort, erotic massage [and] private dancer.”
“There is a very clear line between legal and illegal and she made sure that line was never crossed,” said her good friend Jamie Silvernail. “She knew if she crossed that line, she could jeopardize her kids.” This was more proof that Paige would do anything for her children.
Even though the police felt they had made a major break in the case and began investigating former clients of Paige’s, they still turned up nothing. Her family kept searching, desperate to bring Paige home. It was not 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 the dental records, authorities were able to determine that the remains belonged to Paige. 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 whom they had considered a “person of interest” when Paige first disappeared. Jones was a client of Birgfeld’s and was one of the last people to contact her. In November 2014, police arrested him.
On the night Paige was murdered, Jones left his house late in the evening telling his wife he forgot to turn off the lights at work. Police searched his home and found a toolbox full of suspicious items like a list of escort names and numbers, their bra sizes, and men’s wigs.
Before his arrest in 2014, Jones had already been behind bars. Jones served a five-year sentence for first-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping. To draw even more suspicion, the story he gave police about what he was doing the night of Paige’s murder kept changing.
Jones finally stood trial in September of 2016. Sadly, the jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict in the case, so a mistrial was declared. Jones’s second trial was scheduled for December of 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. Jones, age 65, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His sentencing would not bring Paige back, but it was justice all the same.
“While this verdict will not bring Paige Birgfeld back to her family, we are happy it will give her family closure,” said the Mesa County Prosecutor’s office. They are right, it doesn’t not give three children back their mother, but at least they know the man who took her life is behind bars.
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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