Lester Ralph Jones was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Paige Birgfeld. Pic credit: Mesa County Sheriff’s Office
A Time To Kill is investigating the murder of Paige Birgfeld, who was abducted and killed by Lester Ralph Jones in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 2007.
The case was remarkable because, unbeknown to Birgfeld’s family, the soccer mom had been leading a secretive double life as an escort providing adult services to multiple clients, which led detectives to put numerous suspects in the frame for her murder.
In the summer of 2007, 34-year-old Paige Birgfeld disappeared. The hard-working mother of three left home on June 28, promising to be back later that evening, but she never returned. A few days later, her burnt-out car was discovered, and the police concluded she’d been kidnapped.
Initially, investigators suspected that her husband might have been involved, but then they learned she’d been secretly working as a prostitute. This meant that numerous men were potential suspects. She had used a separate cellphone for her clients, which provided the cops with a list of phone numbers.
The fire in Birgfeld’s car had destroyed any DNA evidence along with hair and fiber samples. But the cops had noted that the driver’s seat had been pushed way back, leading them to conclude the kidnapper had been a large man.
Police finally got a break when paige Birgfeld’s remains were discovered
Jones was a suspect, along with others, but a lack of evidence meant the case grew cold. It would be March 2012 before there was a significant breakthrough; a hiker found Birgfeld’s remains not far from where her car had been found.
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An autopsy deemed that Birgfeld had been tied up with duct tape and transported to the area where her remains were found. She had been killed at that location.
Ather the body was found, the cops had enough evidence to arrest Lester Jones and charge him with kidnapping and murder.
Jones was convicted of both first and second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was also found guilty of second-degree kidnapping, which caused another 12 years to be added to his official punishment record.
The killer already had a criminal record, including a five-year prison sentence for assault and attempted kidnapping.
More from A Time To Kill
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on A Time To Kill.
A bizarre case from Barre Mills, Wisconsin, saw Eric Koula imprisoned for the murder of his parents, Dennis and Merna Koula. He tried to claim that they had been the victim of a hitman, but the police concluded that Koula, who was heavily in debt, had killed them for the inheritance.
James Marrs broke into the home of his neighbor, 66-year-old Sharron Erickson, and sexually assaulted and strangled her to death. The police caught him after DNA from the crime scene matched his profile.
A Time To Kill airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.