The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom   View more episodes

Aired at 01:00 PM on Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 (2/5/2011)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:11>>> 911 Emergency.
00:00:11>> Has the jury reached a verdict?
00:00:13>> We the jury find the defendant -- >> when you're with her, you feel like you are the only person in the room.
00:00:20>> That's how people felt about paige.
00:00:22Big-time charisma.
00:00:24>> We all pale in comparison to her.
00:00:27>> The way she juggles the kids, the job, the million-dollar house.
00:00:36>> So many of us would ask her, how would you do it?
00:00:37>> An important question when she suddenly vanished.
00:00:39>> Something bad must have happened.
00:00:41>> Police discovered this sunny soccer mom was leading a double life on the wild side at night.
00:00:48>> She told me she would visit a client and maybe two.
00:00:51>> The shocking truth came out.
00:00:52Would the truth lead police to her?
00:00:57>> You stand here and you say, i know you're there.
00:00:59But wher >> "the secret life of a soccer " >> thanks for joining us, I'm chris hansen.
00:01:08The woman at the center of our story is really two people.
00:01:11One a radiant mother with a winning approach to life.
00:01:12The other a woman with secrets she shared with very few.
00:01:16But when she disappeared the secrets tumbled out.
00:01:19Now if only they could shed some light on her fate.
00:01:22Here's keith morrison.
00:01:32>> On the brow of a hill on one of america's quintessential western towns is a fine big house, the setting and perhaps in some way the reason for the story you're about to hear.
00:01:43The secret that lay behind it.
00:01:46If not for its wide sweeping driveway, its swimming pool, its glorious views across the valley, to the river, to the town, to the mountains beyond, its hefty monthly payment, would any of this have happened?
00:02:03>> The house with paige, the kids were running and screaming sometimes, people were coming and going.
00:02:10>> Paige is the woman who lived here with the three children.
00:02:15These are her parents, frank and susie birgfeld.
00:02:21>> That's the life paige wanted to be a mom and have her kids around her.
00:02:24>> The birgfelds brought paige to colorado when they were young and she was small and she was sparkling and they, as doting as parents could be.
00:02:34>> My word I used to describe her succinctly is effervescent.
00:02:43A person who has a big smile, a person who when she meets you, you are the center of the moment.
00:02:49>> Yes, and popular too.
00:02:52And as she grew very pretty indeed.
00:02:55>> You know during high school she certainly always had a date for the prom.
00:02:59>> She tried college away in florida, but how could she leave colorado?
00:03:04And perhaps more to the point, there was a young man.
00:03:06And she was in love.
00:03:09So she returned and married and life began to pile up its layer cake of unintended change.
00:03:16She divorced.
00:03:17Married again.
00:03:19Bore three lovely children and divorced again.
00:03:23These things do happen.
00:03:24What can you say?
00:03:27Besides keep what you can and move on.
00:03:30In paige's case it meant moving on here in the sprawling house on the hill with the swimming pool, magnificent canyon views, and bewitching sunsets.
00:03:40In the divorce, paige got the house and the kids and the mortgage.
00:03:45Ah, yes, that.
00:03:49The humongous, worry-all-night you can't pay it mortgage.
00:03:52Which might certainly have eaten away at anyone's easy good humor, god knows she wouldn't have been alone these days, but paige said her friends was not like that.
00:04:02If she worried, it was all inside.
00:04:03She didn't show it.
00:04:05>> You might be feeling down.
00:04:07And she can always pull out the bright side of something to make you feel better.
00:04:14>> It's paige, everybody!
00:04:18Hi, look at you.
00:04:19>> She has a bubbly personality.
00:04:21Every time she shows up, it's all the kids in tow and just really excited to see you and hear how things have been going in your life.
00:04:28>> Amazing really.
00:04:31And rather than stew and worry about the mortgage, paige launched businesses to pay it.
00:04:35She sold cooking products for a company called the pampered chef.
00:04:39And slings for carrying babies.
00:04:41And she taught dancing classes for little kids.
00:04:44And she became on top of everything else, a charter member of the grand junction chapter of moms club international.
00:04:50A support group for working mothers.
00:04:53These are some of her best friends from the moms club.
00:04:57>> She's a soccer mom.
00:04:58She's got three kids.
00:05:01She's a quilter.
00:05:03She's a fabulous cook.
00:05:05There's so much more to her.
00:05:08She's just amazing.
00:05:11s SO MANY OF US WOULD ALWAYS Ask her, how do you do it?
00:05:13We all pale in comparison to her.
00:05:18>> You throw a pebble in the pond and watch the ripples.
00:05:22Paige with her impact on the world and those around her, she's like a boulder.
00:05:29>> But did they ever really know paige?
00:05:32Some perhaps had guessed something.
00:05:36After all she should have been very house poor, but here she was busy, productive, apparently unworried.
00:05:43Life for paige seemed to be as far as anybody knew, parents and children included, pretty good.
00:05:49>> She has a girl, 8, a boy who just turned 7, and another little guy who's 3.
00:05:58That's her life, her family and then her friends.
00:06:02>> Her parents lived a four-hour drive away in denver.
00:06:08They marvelled at her life and energy from a distance.
00:06:11So if they didn't know everything, well, what parent does?
00:06:14And of course, when the call came, that moment that up-ended everything, it was long distance.
00:06:20>> This is the mesa county sheriff's department.
00:06:26He said, "your daughter is " those are big words.
00:06:31And I said, "what do you mean " she said, "well she has been " and I remember saying, "this is a problem.
00:06:41She is not the kind of person who would not be home unless " and we went home and threw some stuff in an overnight bag and left the house in 20 minutes.
00:06:55>> They drove in silence, fast, and they tried to tell themselves their panic was mistaken, she'd turn up, cheerful as ever.
00:07:03Though what they do when they got there, they had no idea.
00:07:11Any more than any of her best friends knew what to think.
00:07:14>> I was instantly terrified for her.
00:07:15Something really bad had to have happened.
00:07:17It just seemed that maybe she was driving home from a pampered chef show one night and her car broke down.
00:07:23She got out to fix a tire and somebody kidnapped her.
00:07:26Scenarios like that were in my head.
00:07:29>> Scenarios?
00:07:30Oh, yes, there were possibilities.
00:07:32None of them good.
00:07:35But no friend, no parent, could have begun to imagine what one of those scenarios could very well have been.
00:07:44When paige birgfeld was so suddenly gone.
00:07:49>>> Coming up -- he's the last person known to have seen paige.
00:07:53>> We were going to have a picnic and hang out together all day.
00:07:57>> A former husband reveals a romance rekindled in "the secret " ♪♪ mama said there'd be days like this ♪♪
00:08:08♪♪ "there'll be days like this,"mama said ♪♪
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00:11:17>>> The ribbons are paige's favorite color.
00:11:20So we've been wearing them since she disappeared.
00:11:24>> At 34, paige birgfeld was a charter member of the grand junction chapter of moms club international.
00:11:33There was no chance she walked out on her three children.
00:11:34Her friend, andrea land, told a story about paige's total commitment to her kids.
00:11:41>> We were in the kitchen and i looked at her and said, don't you ever just want to -- and she finished my sentence.
00:11:49Just run away.
00:11:49Yeah, I said some times I just want to run away.
00:11:51She said, yeah, but I would want to take my kids with me.
00:11:52That's the thing.
00:11:53We all knew she would never leave her kids intentionally.
00:11:57But something bad must have happened.
00:12:02>> Mesa county sheriff stanley hilkey was inclined to agree and began retracing paige's last movements to look for any evidence of foul play.
00:12:12>> You have really got to look at those relationships first.
00:12:18>> And almost immediately had a person of interest.
00:12:20As far as police could determine unless something came up, the last person to have seen paige was the first of her two ex-husbands ron bigler.
00:12:28>> I have a hard time looking back on that day with any fond memories at this point.
00:12:33>> It's a given in the police business that husbands, especially ex-husbands, become important subjects for investigation when the woman suddenly disappears, and in this case there was a clue buried in the past.
00:12:43Bigler was once cited for domestic violence, spent the night in jail.
00:12:51And though paige did not pursue the charge, investors decided that a conversation with mr.
00:13:00Biglor, the last person after all known to have seen her, was certainly in order.
00:13:05>> It was a typical, you know, late teenage romance that turned into love and marriage.
00:13:07>> They were, said bigler high school sweethearts.
00:13:12They got married in 1995.
00:13:13Began quarrelling soon after.
00:13:15>> They had known each other when they were young.
00:13:21And they -- she had told me they had both said we don't want kids.
00:13:25And she just had this really -- the maternal instinct became very, very strong.
00:13:28And she wanted babies.
00:13:29And he didn't.
00:13:32And that was most of the problem.
00:13:34>> So, after two years, they divorced in '97.
00:13:40Paige was just 24 then.
00:13:41What could she be doing ten years later in the company of ron bigler in the hours that led up to her disappearance.
00:13:48>> We were going to meet for the day in eagle together.
00:13:51We were going to have a picnic and hang out together all day.
00:13:54>> Here's the story bigler told to police and us and it sounded, frankly, a little more romantic a tale than we expected to hear.
00:14:06>> We went to subway, brought it back.
00:14:08We were sitting outside down by the river.
00:14:09It was very familiar.
00:14:10I brought some pictures.
00:14:11We just sat there and relaxed and enjoyed the day and the weather.
00:14:16I mean, it was a special, wonderful day.
00:14:18But I can't see it that way at all now.
00:14:22>> If that sounds like a date, well, actually in a way, it was, said biglor.
00:14:28He, after the breakup of their marriage, stayed single.
00:14:31And when her second marriage collapsed, his chance it seemed perhaps had come again.
00:14:38>> It was very exciting.
00:14:40It was hard to figure out.
00:14:41>> That night after their romantic picnic -- >> she called me before I got home to see if I made it back in to did he ever.
00:14:51And then we had a brief conversation, you know, not too brief, but -- I expected to hear from her later that night after she got home.
00:15:01>> But he never did hear from her after that, he told police, though, repeatedly, he tried calling her the next day.
00:15:10Went to voice mail.
00:15:11>> Hello, you have reached the home offices for brain dance, pampered chef and maya wrap baby slings.
00:15:17Please leave a message and i will get back to you within the next few days.
00:15:20>> So when ron bigler talked to the mesa county sheriff's department, it was actually he who first called them.
00:15:26Did they believe his story?
00:15:33Well, said paige's friends, yes, they could.
00:15:36>> She told me they were starting to get back together.
00:15:37She had been texting him.
00:15:39And she kind of told me, in a giggly schoolgirl kind of way, maybe she felt really excited.
00:15:46>> Would a man falling in love all over again want to harm paige?
00:15:50No, the sheriff decided probably not.
00:15:53>> He reached out and was providing information to our investigators about what they did on that day and where they were and -- so he's been cooperative as well.
00:16:02>> I'm confident that the police know I had nothing to do with it.
00:16:06>> Besides, paige had met ron a considerable distance from grand junction.
00:16:11Now police went looking for any trace she may have left on the drive back.
00:16:13Cell phone records, for example.
00:16:16And it appeared there were some of those.
00:16:18>> From the time she left her first ex-husband in eagle county on that thursday, to the time she drove back down here, a lot of what we used in the very first part of this case were telephone records, who she's calling, who's calling her, who's leaving her messages.
00:16:37>> And then, it was the day after paige was reported missing about the time they were calling up the phone records, a call came in to the grand junction fire department.
00:16:49There was a red ford focus in an industrial parking lot a few miles from paige's house.
00:16:52It was her car.
00:16:53And it was on fire.
00:16:57>>> Coming up -- mounting clues from that torched car to some items found by the road.
00:17:03>> Could that have been placed there by paige as a trail?
00:17:06>> The investigation heats up.
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00:20:14>>> It was bizarre.
00:20:15And for paige's family and friends terrifying.
00:20:17This was three days after she disappeared.
00:20:19Her car on fire.
00:20:19Right in town a few miles from her house.
00:20:22Paige wasn't in it, wasn't anywhere around.
00:20:24But said sheriff hilkey -- >> there was probably a lot of clues in that car.
00:20:35And some of that evidence is still yet to be completely analyzed.
00:20:37>> Didn't all get burned up?
00:20:38>> It's badly damaged, you know.
00:20:39What wasn't damaged in the fire was probably badly damaged in the suppression of the fire, too.
00:20:45We haven't gotten all the evidence back yet probably.
00:20:48It certainly appears to be an arson and probably done in a way toe try -- to try to destroy evidence.
00:20:57>> But nothing in the car explained where she was.
00:20:58And now, any chance that paige had some bizarre accident or was lost somewhere was gone.
00:21:03This was foul play.
00:21:06The sheriff brought in search dogs in hopes of tracking her scent.
00:21:11Now suddenly, it seems as if half the city was looking for paige.
00:21:15Her parents were amazed to see not just friends and neighbors but volunteers from all over the state flocked to grand junction to look for their missing daughter.
00:21:25>> So here's the command center.
00:21:26This is a park that is fairly close to paige's house.
00:21:28We have a group that is coming in.
00:21:32It looks like this is one of her smaller groups, straight ahead of the command center.
00:21:36>> This is difficult, dispiriting work.
00:21:39It's dry and hot, in the way the high country sun can scorch in the summertime.
00:21:48>> It was heart-rendering, the amount of energy people put out on behalf of us without knowing us.
00:21:52>> When you start out, you must feel like you're terribly alone.
00:21:56>> I don't know where I would have gone.
00:21:59I would have meandered around and felt absolutely helpless.
00:22:03>> As soon as the car was found burned, you go out and you realize, there's just miles and miles of nothingness.
00:22:14>> This is big country out here.
00:22:16You go out for, usually two hours, you come back to the command center, get some liquids.
00:22:22And it wasn't 20, 30 minutes, somebody would hold up a map and say, we're headed out again.
00:22:28There were no slackers.
00:22:29Everyone went.
00:22:30They would go again and again and again.
00:22:34>> Paige's children, occupied with god knows what terrors, had their grandparents, at least for now.
00:22:42Paige's 8-year-old daughter even joined the search, decorating search poles for rescuers to use.
00:22:49Even though by then, searchers were not at all confident they were looking for a person who was still alive.
00:22:56>> I felt paige would be home within a day or two.
00:23:01That whatever held her up had to have been something wrong or she would have never been away from her children overnight.
00:23:09But I don't think that we thought it was -- I never thought it was something more serious than that.
00:23:16>> Paige's friends hoped of course she would turn up safe and sound.
00:23:21But -- >> suddenly, the small, quiet town has a tragedy.
00:23:27And a mom with three kids is missing.
00:23:29So they want to come help because they want to get this mom back with her kids or at least give the family closure.
00:23:34>> Then a few days into the search, something big.
00:23:40Alongside a wind-blown highway outside of town, volunteers spotted bits of paper in among the gravel and the weeds.
00:23:46And when they retrieved them, they found paige's check register, her blockbuster membership card, personal items the sort of things a woman puts in her purse.
00:23:58Had paige thrown them out of the car or was it someone else, someone trying to get rid of evidence?
00:24:06>> On one hand you're excited because it's something and it's hers, you know it's hers, maybe that will lead somewhere.
00:24:11By the same token it's scary because you think why are her things on the side of the road?
00:24:18How did this happen?
00:24:24>> You stop to think, if you're one person in a car, how do you do that?
00:24:28That means you have to go up the road and down the road and use both sides of the car.
00:24:35It also raises the issue, if you've got a bag of her stuff, why would you go to the trouble of dispersing it?
00:24:44Why don't you just keep it all together and throw it in the trash somewhere, why don't you burn it?
00:24:51I'm not sure what to make of that other than to know her stuff was there.
00:24:55>> Trouble is that the sheriff's department couldn't make much sense of it either.
00:25:01>> It opens up the door for a lot of speculation.
00:25:03Could that have been placed there by paige as a trail?
00:25:06Could have been placed there by a suspect as a diversion.
00:25:09Could it have been blown out of a vehicle going down the road unwittingly?
00:25:15>> Alas, apparently a romantic meeting with an ex-husband.
00:25:20A burned-out car, hers, that yielded no useful clues.
00:25:23Papers scattered by a highway, miles out of town.
00:25:25Who left them there?
00:25:28A search that by now covered hundreds of square miles of high desert around grand junction and no sign of paige birgfeld.
00:25:38But were police looking in the right places?
00:25:40Paige's first husband, ron bigler, told a believable story about the last night with paige, but what about ex-husband number two?
00:25:48Father of her three children.
00:25:49Everybody who knew paige also knew that marriage was deeply troubled.
00:25:57By the way, now that she was single again, did paige's small home-bound business generate enough income to support her expensive life?
00:26:03Where she was getting the money?
00:26:04Investigators were about to uncover "the secret life of a " no one saw it coming, not the police, not her parents, not the city.
00:26:15Now, to worry and grief, add shock.
00:26:21>>> Coming up -- stunning revelations about paige.
00:26:24And troubling talk about her second husband.
00:26:28>> Rob is a guy who I think of as a jekyll and hyde.
00:26:32>> The mystery deepens.
00:26:33In "the secret life of a soccer " ♪♪
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00:27:23♪♪ mama said there'd be days like this ♪♪
00:27:26♪♪ "there'll be days like this,"mama said ♪♪
00:27:29♪♪ mama said, mama said ♪♪
00:27:30♪♪ mama said, "there'll be days like this" ♪♪
00:27:32[ Male Announcer ] THE TOUGHEST JOB ON THE Planet just got a little easier.
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00:29:41>>> I'm milissa rehberger.
00:29:42Here's what's happening.
00:29:44Protests continue on the streets of egypt as president hosni mubarak hangs on to power.
00:29:48Reports earlier today claimed mubarak was stepping down as the head of his party.
00:29:52But those reports have been proven false.
00:29:54Mubarak's son did resign from the party.
00:29:56>>> And despite the weather, the super bowl will be played tomorrow at cowboys stadium.
00:30:00Falling ice from the roof injured six people friday.
00:30:03But league officials say everything should be safe for fans on sunday night.
00:30:09Now back to "the secret life of " ♪♪♪♪
00:30:21>> you can stand on the front doorstep here and I believe you can see five miles.
00:30:27And I believe everything happened in that area.
00:30:31>> As the weeks passed, search-and-rescue teams scoured the countryside around grand junction, colorado, looking for the popular young mother of three who had suddenly vanished.
00:30:44>> And you stand here and you look and you say, I know you're there.
00:30:47But where?
00:30:50>> THEY SEARCHED ON HORSES, ATVs And on foot combing through brush land, deserted lots and the murky river running through the canyon floor.
00:30:58Hoping to find something.
00:31:00Afraid of what that something would be.
00:31:07And nothing?
00:31:08>> We have looked in a very vast open areas, we've looked on top of the river and we've looked under the river and we have not found her.
00:31:13>> Special dog teams sniffed along the highway leading down to the riverbed.
00:31:19Rescue divers searched under water but found no trace.
00:31:23With the trail growing cold, police turned their attention to paige's second ex-husband.
00:31:27Rob dixon, the father of her three children.
00:31:32They had been divorced for a year and dixon now lived in philadelphia.
00:31:35But people here in grand junction certainly remembered dixon.
00:31:39And not necessarily fondly.
00:31:42>> Rob was a guy who showed up in town and made a splash.
00:31:46>> Paige's parents knew the story all too well.
00:31:49How rob dixon had come into a huge family fortune, how he moved to grand junction, bought the big house, filled its garage with exotic sports cars.
00:32:00How he went through his money in a hurry.
00:32:02>> I've seen where in a deposition he admitted that he lost over $10 million.
00:32:06>> Went bankrupt eventually.
00:32:08But along the way, paige's parents heard their son-in-law got involved with the local fire department as a board member and benefactor.
00:32:17>> The first big gift was a camera that fits onto helmets and he gave away, the paper 8 million of those cameras.
00:32:27>> And then about the time paige's parents heard that her marriage was going south, so did her husband's gifts to the fire department.
00:32:36>> Apparently it turned out that he hadn't purchased them.
00:32:38He had only rented them.
00:32:40And so when the money was dissipated, the rent came due, without the resources to pay it.
00:32:48So he was in the paper with frequency because of these fire department matters.
00:32:54He was actually made the news person of the year.
00:32:56>> He did have a reputation in grand junction, in mesa county, a colorful character.
00:33:02Certainly was a person that just by the nature of anybody being an ex-husband or having that kind of relationship, is a person that is included in any kind of investigation like that.
00:33:14>> Besides, as the sheriff soon discovered, dixon's legal troubles had not been confined to financial issues.
00:33:19 dixon had been arrested a couple times.
00:33:21>> For what?
00:33:24>> For a domestic violence-type, harassment-type case.
00:33:28>> To outsiders, paige and rob seemed happy and very successful, living in that spacious new home.
00:33:34But inside, as marriages so often are, it was a different thing altogether.
00:33:37At least according to paige's parents.
00:33:42>> They had a troubled marriage from almost the beginning.
00:33:47>> Rob is a guy who I think of as kind of a jekyll and hyde.
00:33:51>> 911, What is your emergency?
00:33:53>> My husband and I were in a fight, and he was supposed to watch my children.
00:33:58While I went to work -- >> paige called 911 in the fall of 2004.
00:34:04>> As I was leaving, he didn't seem to be okay.
00:34:06I said I was just going to take the children with me so he didn't have to deal with it.
00:34:10But he wanted the children to stay with him.
00:34:12And he said that I would come home and find them all murdered.
00:34:17>> She was terrified, she said, that dixon would hurt the children.
00:34:20Police were dispatched.
00:34:20When they arrived, dixon was fine, they decided.
00:34:26No threat to the children nor himself or anyone else.
00:34:27No charges.
00:34:29Then, less than a year later after a possibly violent quarrel, dixon was arrested on suspicion of third degree assault and misdemeanor child abuse.
00:34:39He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of harassment, got a deferred sentence and then the case was later dismissed and sealed.
00:34:49Paige's friends claim she was afraid of her husband.
00:34:50>> Incidents where her ex-husband had a very angry temper.
00:34:57Easily inflamed by the kids doing normal kid stuff.
00:34:59He would break furniture and break doors.
00:35:04>> When they finally divorced, dixon moved clear across the country and paige got the children.
00:35:07But worried a lot, said her parents, about retaining full custody.
00:35:17>> Quite honestly she was afraid -- she did not want the chance that he might have part custody of the children.
00:35:21She would rather that he see the children when she was around.
00:35:22>> Even though dixon only flew west to visit occasionally, her friends say paige seemed terrified of him.
00:35:30She posted a warning on the website related to one of her businesses.
00:35:35>> My children would ask me if dad was going to kill me?
00:35:37>> She was worried about dixon's apparent plan to move back to colorado.
00:35:40>> My kids and I have been so happy and free and safe since their dad moved 2,000 miles away.
00:35:46As always, he couldn't hold on to his job.
00:35:49And has found a new one in durango, which is about three hours away in the summertime.
00:35:53I'm thinking this is a bit close for my comfort.
00:35:56A few months after she posted that, paige vanished and the sheriff found himself looking through court records for clues.
00:36:04>> Those things happen, I think, and -- >> but it does make him a person of interest?
00:36:08>> Absolutely.
00:36:11It absolutely has.
00:36:12>> Custody battles do bristle with poisonous allegations some true, some not.
00:36:15This is dixon's lawyer, scott robinson.
00:36:18>> It was not surprising that she would say bad things about rob dixon on her website.
00:36:24She lived in fear he would come and get custody of the children if the truth about her was made known.
00:36:29>> Truth?
00:36:30What truth?
00:36:33Had she lied about rob dixon?
00:36:35>> Nothing paige dixon said about rob dixon was true inasmuch as it related to allegations of domestic violence.
00:36:44He didn't do anything to her.
00:36:47>> And he couldn't have anything disappearance, said robinson.
00:36:56>> And he couldn't have anything to do with paige's disappearance, said robinson.
00:36:59How could he?
00:37:01Dixon was thousands of miles away in philadelphia when paige vanished.
00:37:03Still why would she tell her parents and friends she worried about keeping him away and retaining custody of her children?
00:37:08And how did she manage her very expensive life and stay solvent?
00:37:10Suddenly there was an answer, and it was a shock.
00:37:15>> Certainly to the degree we didn't know about it.
00:37:17Am I surprised I didn't know about it?
00:37:20No, I don't think it's the sort of thing you would relate.
00:37:23>> Her parents had no idea or her children or their teachers or the consumers of her baby slings or for that matter, most of the members of the moms club.
00:37:36Paige birgfeld, the beautiful young mother had a secret second life.
00:37:39After tucking in her children she would head out into the night to work her second job.
00:37:45Running her own escort service.
00:37:50>> Well, we didn't know about her having an adult business, whatever that means, how far that goes.
00:37:58It was somewhat akin to her having a drape on part of her life that we were unaware of.
00:38:04>> From soccer mom to scarlet letter.
00:38:06The news of paige's secret side hit grand junction like a bombshell and created a whole new set of potential suspects.
00:38:14Had she been working the night she disappeared?
00:38:18And, did either of her ex-husbands know what she was doing?
00:38:25>>> Coming up -- how her double life could complicate the troublesome case.
00:38:30>> People don't want other people to know that they're involved in a business like that.
00:38:34>> Now who's going to talk about "the secret life of a soccer mom"?
00:41:58>>> Flip through the phonebook of any city in america and you will find pages of advertisements promising varying degrees of sexual companionship.
00:42:08But the idea of paige birgfeld, well, she seemed like the least likely candidate for a career in adult entertainment.
00:42:15>> I can tell you sitting here today I don't fully comprehend.
00:42:19>> This was a woman with three kids.
00:42:24And there was the moms club, the dance classes for little girls, the modest homebound businesses selling cooking gear and baby slings.
00:42:30Of course, there was that big mortgage, the million-dollar house.
00:42:34It must have taken real money to keep that going.
00:42:36But her parents and friends or most of her friends say they had no idea she was financing it with a secret business in topless massages and escort services.
00:42:47Though jamie silvernail who once stayed with paige was clearly aware something was going on.
00:42:53>> This is something that I know she did out of necessity.
00:42:56Paige is a very fun person to be around.
00:42:58When you're with her, you feel like you're the only person in the room.
00:43:02She makes you feel like you have been her best friend.
00:43:04And that kind of personality works really well in this industry.
00:43:09>> So it does.
00:43:10But once discovered here in grand junction it colored everything.
00:43:13Paige's parents were as desperate as ever to find their daughter.
00:43:19>> When I get up in the morning, I think, paige, we're coming.
00:43:24She needs my protection and i can't give it, but we're coming as best we can.
00:43:33>> But the crowds of volunteers declined.
00:43:39>> There was a small judgmental faction of people in town that i would say that just didn't approve and it seemed like the turnout slowed down for a while.
00:43:48>> The sheriff revealed that paige's clients knew her as carrie.
00:43:52Her escort business was called models, inc.
00:43:56Her online ads boasted that was the best grand junction had to offer, dancers, erotic massage, or companionship.
00:44:08The ad linked to a second adult website showing her as an escort in grand junction named carrie.
00:44:14Quote, tired of chopped meat showing up when you ordered filet mignon, she wrote, affluent clients are lavishing in delightful sessions.
00:44:28As carrie, paige made herself available on an in-call, out-call basis.
00:44:31Any time, all hours of the day and night.
00:44:33In her ad she said she served grand junction and smaller towns around it and if the client wanted to pay, she'd take longer trips by charter jet only, $25,000 minimum.
00:44:43Which of course meant the search for paige has suddenly gotten much more complicated.
00:44:50>> We knew it would add complexity, because a lot of escort-type businesses, or whatever are going to be activities that are kept secret.
00:45:00People don't want other people to know that they're either patrons of a business like that or involved in a business like that.
00:45:05So that's exactly how it panned out.
00:45:08>> According to online reviews of her carrie persona, paige was very well-liked by her male clients.
00:45:17Three days before she vanished a client named dennis posted this rave review.
00:45:21Her picture does not do her justice.
00:45:22She is a sexy goddess.
00:45:23I am in love.
00:45:26And wish I could see her every day.
00:45:30Rating -- 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.
00:45:34Carrie a simply a very gorgeous woman, a little bit pricey.
00:45:37If you have the money, she's worth every dime.
00:45:41Obviously, said her parents, the adult business came as a shock.
00:45:44But they're trying to understand it from her point of view.
00:45:48>> Look, I don't condone that side of things.
00:45:50I don't celebrate that side of things.
00:45:53But -- and just because someone has a need to make ends meet, do I think you can do things just for that reason.
00:46:03But at the same time, I realize this is a single parent who is trying to do the parent thing and had a lot of balls in the air trying to meet those ends.
00:46:12>> And her friends?
00:46:15Some say they had a vague idea about the double life paige was leading, though they insist her activities would have been legal and careful.
00:46:24>> Her biggest fear would have been if she did something illegal, who would the kids go to instantly?
00:46:28Her ex-husband.
00:46:30And that was -- that was her worst fear.
00:46:33Because her kids were everything to her.
00:46:38>> But to police the details of what paige did or didn't do with her clients wasn't so much the issue.
00:46:43The crucial question was this -- did her work in a business known to be dangerous lead to foul play and her disappearance?
00:46:51Everybody wondered that now.
00:46:55>> We have various different crime issues around here especially with meth.
00:46:59I know that that makes people pretty crazy.
00:47:01And you know, who knows?
00:47:05She's a beautiful woman.
00:47:06And when you are a beautiful woman by yourself you are vulnerable.
00:47:10>> But it was the detail offered by ron bigler, paige's first ex-midwest, ex-husband, that sent the search in a very particular new direction.
00:47:20>> She told me she would go visit a client and maybe two.
00:47:21>> One client, maybe two.
00:47:23Who were these people?
00:47:25Did they have something to do with the disappearance of paige birgfeld?
00:47:30>>> Coming up -- >> lester ralph jones is the only person that really remains on our radar screen right now.
00:47:38>> A new name emerges in "the secret life of a soccer mom.
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00:50:44? C sñs s c w A C c c >>> When the news broke that the beautiful young missing mother the whole town had been looking for was a secret escort, an erotic masseuse, it put a different spin on things.
00:51:06Shirley, most people assumed, her disappearance must be connected to that job.
00:51:13Her family and friends felt certain she wasn't selling actual sex and that maybe, they thought, that's what led to whatever happened -- a pushy customer wanted more and wouldn't take no for an answer.
00:51:24>> You have a situation where page won't cross the line and you have somebody that's unsatisfied with that, then things can get out of hand.
00:51:33>> It turned out first husband ron bigler knew about paige's side business, in fact she had been freelancing as an exotic dancer since the time they got MARRIED BACK IN THE '90s.
00:51:48He worried about it over the years, he said, but he didn't think it was his place to judge how she lived her life.
00:51:56>> I knew she was in way more than that.
00:52:00I couldn't step back in after all of the years to tell her what to do.
00:52:03She depended on that paying the bills.
00:52:06I knew wasn't sexual, I didn't like her doing it because of the danger involved.
00:52:10People who buy that form of entertainment could get it from someone else besides who I was in love with.
00:52:16>> Sadly, investigators railroad beginning to think bigler's concerns were valid.
00:52:24Her husband also found out about her secret career.
00:52:26The fight that got him arrested began says his lawyer when rob found his wife's possession clothes designed for erotic out calls.
00:52:38>> That's what led to the breakup of the marriage?
00:52:40>> Probably tipped the scale.
00:52:42>> The list of potential suspects narrowed to clients and moving to the top, a 57-year-old rv mechanic named jones.
00:52:50>> Lester ralph jones is the only person that remains on the radar screen right now.
00:52:55>> What's his connection with her?
00:52:58>> I don't know if we've disclosed the nature of the relationship, but not hard to connect the dots.
00:53:05>> He was a client.
00:53:06>> Where that relationship is going, we don't know the extent of it.
00:53:09>> But another local official confirmed that jones was a client and evidence exists to suggest that he may have made one of the last phone calls to paige before she disappeared.
00:53:19And there was another connection to the name lester ralph jones.
00:53:23Remember, paige's red car was discovered on fire the day after she was reported missing.
00:53:31Investigators took tracking dogs to the car.
00:53:33And where did those dogs follow the scent?
00:53:35Right across the street to the work place of -- mr. jones.
00:53:45Investigators searched jones's home, twice, actually.
00:53:49And -- was anything retained from those searches?
00:53:53>> Nothing that gets us to where we need to be at this point.
00:53:57There are enormous amounts of evidence submitted to the state crime lab.
00:54:01>> I assume he's denied any responsibility.
00:54:04That would be a fair assumption.
00:54:06>> It's a fair assumption.
00:54:08>> A background check revealed a criminal record.
00:54:11>> It includes some violence against a spouse.
00:54:13>> Including a five-year sentence for assault and kidnapping involving his ex-wife and shooting but missing her male friend.
00:54:22Most of his troubles had begun with jealousy, aggression, and women.
00:54:27But at work, to his customers, he seemed perfectly fine.
00:54:33>> He was a friendly person to be around.
00:54:35When he worked on our car, he was professional.
00:54:37He fixed what he needed to fix.
00:54:39>> A detective named david duncan had once hired jones as a mechanic.
00:54:45>> It was shocking to me because ralph was -- I say was, I don't know what he's like today, but was a pleasant person to be around.
00:54:55>> But then, this was years ago, detective duncan was call in to investigate the allegations by jones' ex-wife -- a woman named lisa.
00:55:04Duncan has retired now.
00:55:05But when the possible connection to paige's disappearance came up, he read the old record and -- >> the reports elude to the fact that in the home they were all physically restrained lisa.
00:55:18Lisa in her statement calls it kidnapping.
00:55:21They're not minor things.
00:55:22There's fire arms involved.
00:55:24The evidence is there and it's clear.
00:55:26>> But it's one thing to say the man has a past.
00:55:29Quite another to connect him to the disappearance of paige birkfeld.
00:55:34In other words, the investigation stalled and paige's father was reduced to writing jones a letter, begging for the health.
00:55:45>> I said I'm aware you knew my daughter, ige, who's been missing.
00:55:49The lett is to meet me somewhere and tell me whatever it is within your knowledge to help me findher.
00:55:56And never heard it.
00:55:57>> Haven't swooped down and arrested him?
00:55:59>> Haven't arrested him?
00:56:01>> Why not?
00:56:02>> Because paige is still missing.
00:56:04There's pieces of the puzzle yet that we've yet to find.
00:56:07>> Both of birkfelt's ex-husbands have alibis that police checked out.
00:56:13Many in grand junction remain suspicious.
00:56:16After all, paige was supposedly afraid of the second ex-husband, rob dixon.
00:56:21Remember what she wrote months before she vanished?
00:56:24My children would ask me if dad is not a killer.
00:56:28>> One of paige's friends, this one is not.
00:56:32She's a woman named carol.
00:56:35She told us paige was also afraid of jones, worried because as a client he'd taken too deep an interest in her.
00:56:43Not long before she disappeared, paige asked her to meet jones and -- >> lester jones told me that he had been good friends with rob dixon.
00:56:54He stressed that.
00:56:54>> Was a conspiracy even possible?
00:56:57Ridiculous says rob dixon's lawyer.
00:56:59>> Rob dixon was not know, did not know, and probably will never know lester jones.
00:57:05>> Never met him.
00:57:05>> Never met him.
00:57:06Never knew him.
00:57:07Knew nothing about him, except what he learned from the media once lester jones emerged as a suspect.
00:57:14>> We have one person that we just can't eliminate at this point.
00:57:18>> That person, lester ralph jones, has hired an attorney, who told dateline that he was not guilty and not responsible for the disappearance of paige birkfeld.
00:57:30So until paige and some new evidence is found, an arrest seems unlikely.
00:57:34But if you don't find a body, if you don't find paige, it seems reasonable to think that the -- that the person of interest can go on living his life without fear of being prosecuted.
00:57:48>> I don't think he should go on with his life without fear of being prosecuted.
00:57:52>> You can put together a case without the body?
00:57:54>> I'm hopeful that some day we'll get our day in court.
00:57:58>> For now, paige's three children live with their father.
00:58:02And paige birkfelt is, who knows?
00:58:05It's a big empty county here around grand junction, colorado, lots of space, and keep looking.
00:58:11Against all of the odds, keep hoping.
00:58:14>> The two of you, I think, are maybe different places along this road of being prepared for things.
00:58:25>> I still feel that paige is hidden somewhere, has been put somewhere where she can't get away.
00:58:37Probably something as obsessed with her and at first I thought, oh, every time he leaves, she must be bound and gagged.
00:58:44And then more than one of her friends has mentioned to me just recently because a lot of us have this gut intuitive feeling that paige is still alive and cannot get back yet to her children.
00:58:59>> Look, some of these searchers went to salt lake city and searched for elizabeth smart.
00:59:04Who in the world would have scripted that that she ended up with some sort of a knuckle head religious zealot.
00:59:12And yet she walked in perfectly healthy to the best I can see.
00:59:17Do I think the odds favor that?
00:59:20But as long as the odds are there, that's one reason we have always been here at the house waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for the door to open.
00:59:31On the long shot odds that somehow that's her story and she'll walk through the door.
00:59:43>>> Paige's father is renting an apartment in grand junction where every day he continues his search.
00:59:49For more on this case, visit our com