LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – The father of a murdered Grand Junction woman who went missing in 2007 said Friday’s arrest in his daughter’s death was a melancholy moment, but he’s optimistic for a conviction.
“It all came back and washed over me and was a pretty sad moment,” Frank Birgfeld said.
The remains of his daughter, Paige, were found in Mesa County in March 2012, five years after she disappeared. She went missing near an RV park in Grand Junction and her car had been torched.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said Friday it has taken Lester Ralph Jones, 63, into custody for Birgfeld’s murder. The Colorado Bureau of Investigations was handling the cold case.
Birgfeld said he’s not sure why the investigation took so long.
“I don’t know the answer to it. My guess is when the trial occurs and we’re sitting there, those will all be answered,” he said.
His daughter, a single mother of three living in Grand Junction, was also an escort. Jones, who was one of her clients, was named a suspect a few months after she vanished, but authorities didn’t make the arrest until Friday.
“We have always had him on the radar,” Mesa County Sheriff-Elect Matt Lewis said. “This is not something that occurred this week or last week. This has been moving forward for quite some time.”
Birgfeld family said Friday they had no knowledge that Jones had been arrested until they were contacted by CBS4.
He said he remembers his daughter’s presence.
“Paige had a radiant smile that lit up the room, and boy do I miss it,” he said.
Birgfeld says after seven years, he’s optimistic about the arrest.
“It’s one thing to bring charges against someone,” he said. “It’s another to get a conviction. That’s down the road.”
He said he plans attend the trial because he said he owes it to his daughter.
“I think a dad’s role is to be a protector,” he said. “Just instinctively, I felt like I should have been there to protect her. And I wasn’t.”
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