Over four years ago, an attractive single mother, Paige Birgfeld, vanished without a trace, while working as an escort. However, authorities said her skeletal remains were discovered after a hiker in western Colorado stumbled across them.
Lewis said that the Mesa County medical examiner made a positive identification using Birgfeld's dental records. However, they are waiting for conclusive DNA tests by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The results are not expected to conflict with the medical examiner's.
We are going to show due diligence and follow [the dental identification] with DNA identification, but we are very confident in [the current] identification, Lewis said, according to the Huffington Post.
Her remains were discovered on Tuesday by a hiker near the Mesa County and Delta County lines.
They were found in Wells Gulch, Lewis said, according to the Huffington Post. Right now it's a dry creek bed, [but] at various times of the year some water does flow through there.
Police said they are investigating the case a homicide, but are waiting for the coroner to examine the body to determine the cause of death.
[We have] no idea at this point, Lewis said. That will absolutely depend on the tests [they have to perform]. We may even employ the services of a forensic pathologist in assisting with that. It could take weeks [or] months. We don't have an estimate at this time.
The 34 year old Grand Junction resident and single mother disappeared in June 30, 2007. It was during this time that investigators had determined she was working as an escort.
I think 'escort' is kind of a polite word for prostitution, said Frank Birgfeld, Paige's father, according to the Associated Press. But the father said he was unaware for his daughter's job.
Absolutely, we weren't aware of it, he said, according to The Associated Press. I can't tell you how negatively I would have responded
Investigators learned of Birgfeld's business, dubbed Models Inc., while interviewing friends and family. However, they did not determine if the escort service served as part of a larger prostitution scheme.
That was not the focus of this investigation, Lewis said, according to The Associated Press. We were looking to piece together her life.
When her secret was uncovered, authorities focused on Lester Ralph Jones, a 56-year-old client of Birgeld's. Jones reportedly has a criminal history including a five-year sentence for first-degree assault and second-degree attempted kidnapping.
[Jones] is not any more suspect or any less suspect at this point, Lewis said, according to the Huffington Post. We need to go through all the evidence we have collected, and that may change that or it may not. At this point, we are working toward the goal of a prosecution.
Still, the discovery has not provided enough closure for Birgfeld's father.
I don't cry much, but I cried today, he said, according to Fox News.