Paige Birgfeld was reported missing in Colorado in June 2007 and days later, her burned car was located and her personal items were found scattered along the side of the highway. However, the disappearance of the mother of three would remain a mystery until March 6, 2012, when her skeletal remains were found by a hiker in the Wells Gulch area in Delta County.
Investigators who looked into her disappearance soon learned she wasn’t just a devoted mom who sold kitchenware from her home in Grand Junction. Birgfeld, 34, also worked as a paid escort and ran an escort business, the Denver Post reported, and that double life led authorities to identify Lester Ralph Jones as a suspect.
Investigators found that Jones had frequently solicited Birgfeld and done so in the days before she disappeared, according to the Denver Post. Jones also had a prior criminal record, including assault and kidnapping. He was arrested in November 2014 and charged with Birgfeld’s murder.
Where is Lester Ralph Jones today?
Jones Was Found Guilty of Murder & Kidnapping & Sentenced to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole
Jones was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder in a retrial in December 2016 after his first case ended in a mistrial when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. He was sentenced to life in prison for that crime as well as 12 years for second-degree kidnapping, the Denver Post reported.
Prosecutors argued that police dogs found Jones’ scent in Birgfeld’s car and he also had a gas can by his desk at work. Jones was also one of the last people to call Birgfeld before her disappearance, CBS Denver reported. However, when he was questioned by police he denied using her escort service or being involved in her disappearance.
Jones, now 70, was sentenced to life without parole and is serving his sentence at the Fremont Correctional Facility, a mixed custody facility in Canon City, Colorado, that opened in 1958 and has a capacity of 1,621 inmates. As of this time, there is no indication that Jones has appealed his verdict.
Jones’ Ex-Wife Accused Him of Attacking Her After Their Marriage Ended
Jones’ ex-wife Lisa Nance said his murder of Birgfeld wasn’t the first time he showed a capacity for violence, PEOPLE reported. After their marriage ended, Nance said she began dating someone else, but one morning Jones showed up and attacked them both. “He got up beside me and hit my car, which knocked me over into a ditch,” she said. “Then he pulled up and backed up really hard and rammed my car.”
Nance revealed that her boyfriend ran away from the scene but Jones took out a gun and shot at him twice, with one bullet grazing his head. She said Jones then turned the gun to her: “He had it pointed right at me,” she said, and he was saying she “didn’t want him anymore.” He was later arrested for that incident but released on bail, Nance said, according to PEOPLE.
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