MESA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A hiker has found human remains tentatively identified as belonging to Paige Birgfeld. The Grand Junction mother has been missing since 2007 and was considered by investigators to be a murder victim.
The Delta County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday at approximately 12:30 p.m. they received a report of human remains found in the Wells Gulch area by a hiker.
“Delta County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance in recovering the skeletal remains from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Delta County Coroner’s Office, the Mesa County Coroner’s Office, and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office,” Sgt. Matt Lewis with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Forensic dentistry was used to tentatively identify the remains as belonging to Birgfeld, a 34-year-old mother of three. A DNA comparison will be requested through the CBI to confirm the results.
“Other personal items were found along with the remains and will be considered for DNA testing based on past successes with trace evidence,” Lewis said.
Birgfeld was reported missing in 2007. Investigators classified the case as a homicide. She was a single mother who sold kitchen products. Many who knew Birgfeld were surprised to learn from investigators she also ran an escort service.
When Birgfeld disappeared, investigators found her car on fire. Bloodhounds tracked her scent to an RV service facility, but her body was never found.
Birgfeld’s father, Frank Birgfeld, spoke to the CBS affiliate in Grand Junction about the possibility that his daughter had been finally found.
“I think of Paige many times every day and it’s sad when I think about her. If it turns out that the police report comes back that this is she, I won’t feel uplifted, I won’t feel good, I still will think of her several times a day,” Frank Birgfeld said.
According to The Associated Press, in October 2007, investigators identified Lester Ralph Jones, then 56, as a suspect. Matt Lewis confirmed to The Associated Press that Jones is still a suspect in the case.
Investigators are continuing to search the Wells Gulch area for any other clues.