Arrest in Murder of Woman Who Led Double Life

Client accused of killing secret escort Paige Birgfeld
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2014 2:39 PM CST
Arrest in Murder of Woman Who Led Double Life
This undated law enforcement booking photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Office shows Lester Ralph Jones.   (AP Photo/Mesa County Sheriff's Office)

Seven years ago, a western Colorado woman who lived a secret life as an escort went missing; her remains were discovered in 2012. Now, police have finally arrested a man accused of Paige Birgfeld's murder. Authorities say Lester Jones, 63, was a client of Birgfeld, the AP reports. He allegedly killed her and burned her car, resulting in charges of murder, kidnapping, and arson. Dogs identified his scent in what was left of the car, and there was an unexplained gas can next to his desk at work, police say. A Pampered Chef food scale was allegedly in Jones' toolbox; Birgfeld worked for the company and may have tried to leave clues for police, police say. The local sheriff-elect notes a "very circumstantial basis to this case," but he says the evidence is convincing, the Denver Post reports.

How exactly Birgfeld was killed remains a mystery. Her eight-year-old daughter reported her disappearance in 2007. Birgfeld's father wasn't aware of her escort work before her death. A former husband, however, apparently knew of it; he said she was the only employee of her business, Models Inc. According to another escort, Jones nixed a planned meeting with Birgfeld after realizing she'd previously been married to one of his fire department coworkers. "My daughter was vivacious, knock-down good-looking, had a terrific smile, and was always optimistic," Birgfeld's father tells the AP. "She just seemed to think somehow, some way, she would manage through it all." (More Colorado stories.)

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