Mom and Four Kids Slept in Car, Then Cops Made an Unexpected Move

Look, everyone has to deal with their own struggles. Making ends meet in today’s society is no easy feat. Sometimes, the going gets tough, and people are forced to sleep in their cars for a period of time. But how many of us have heard of an entire family living in one vehicle? It’s a rare occurrence, that’s for sure. And it goes to show just how difficult times have been for such a family.

Ebony and her four children

Source: Twitter

In 2016, a mother from Atlanta got pulled over by police. Obviously, she was worried about what would happen next. She didn’t want the officer to know exactly what she was hiding. But the thing is she wasn’t hiding anything illegal like drugs or stolen items. This mother was hiding the fact that she had been sheltering her four children in her car.

An Extraordinary Mother

We all know of extraordinary mothers who do whatever is in their power to make sure their kids are fed, clothed, and sheltered. But what that usually means is that mom is put on the back burner – that is, if she even puts herself in the picture at all. When Ebony Rhodes would finish a grueling shift at a discount store, she didn’t have any time to rest.

Ebony and her kids standing near the front door

Source: wsbtv.com

One day, after a long shift, the single mother had her all her four kids jump into the family Buick. They had some important work to do. The kids range in age, from 12 to 17, and they all had school finals coming up.

Who Wants Her Kids to Learn

Ebony wanted nothing but the best for her kids, so she insisted that they go to the library to study for their tests. But on this particular day, they never made it to the library. On the drive over, Ebony’s heart dropped as she saw a set of flashing police lights appear in her rearview mirror.

A cop car in a rearview mirror with their lights flashing

Illustration. Photo by vchal / Shutterstock

So, she pulled the car over, dreading the worst. Tears were already flowing down her face before the officer reached her window. When he asked her what was wrong, she admitted to him that she was driving with an expired license. Driving without a license happens to be a serious offense, so the officer had no choice…

But Was Stopped by a Cop

The police officer didn’t give any leniency in the matter and arrested Ebony on the spot. He then sent her car to the scrapyard. But the officer wasn’t aware of what that really meant to Ebony and her family. You see, he was overlooking a very essential part of the story. But the truth didn’t come to light until a few days later.

An officer looking into the driver’s seat window of a car

Photo by FrameStockFootages / Shutterstock

As the authorities were inspecting the vehicle before impounding it, they noticed something unusual. The car itself was nothing special by any means, but it was what was inside of it that immediately caught their attention. They noticed that both the trunk and the backseat of the car were filled with all types of supplies.

Destroying Their Only Home

In the trunk and backseat were bedding, games, books, and all kinds of food. That’s when the authorities understood what was happening. After asking some questions around the precinct, the police confirmed the sad truth. Yes, Ebony and her four kids were living in her car. It was clear that the Rhodes family was having a difficult enough time as it is.

A red car being impounded and crushed

Source: YouTube

And now, their mother was in custody, and their shelter was on its way to being crushed into oblivion. As word got around, the Atlanta police became aware of what they did, and apparently, felt terrible about it. In fact, the single parents on the force were outraged.

The Costs Were Too High

Fortunately, there was one man who stepped up to the plate and took matters into his own hands – to make things right. Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier was particularly torn up about this mother’s dilemma. Outside of his work hours, Glazier did some investigating into Ebony’s background. Who knows, maybe he could help.

Danniaja lying in a hospital bed

Source: GoFundMe

As it turns out, the main factor behind the Rhodes’ financial despair was a series of medical issues. Ebony’s daughter, Danniaja, suffered from Lupus. And Ebony herself got sick often, to the point where she couldn’t work sometimes. It goes without saying that healthcare is costly in this country, and the costs kept piling up. It eventually forced Ebony to make a shameful move.

So They Stuck Together

Those mounting health care bills forced the family out of their home. She looked into homeless shelters but wasn’t able to find any that were able to accommodate all five of them. Ebony was not going to split her family up, and so she figured that if she kept them all together in the car, that it would be better than splitting up.

he backseat of a car with a floral bag under the driver's seat

Source: Pinterest

They ended up in this makeshift living situation for a long six months. Learning of all this, Deputy Glazier was moved and motivated to help them. It was clear that Ebony wasn’t in any way a criminal, but rather a good person and dedicated mom who was dealing with a whole lot of bad luck.

The Deputy Reached Out

The Deputy Chief, who never met her in his life, decided to reach out to the woman. Throughout his years on the force, Glazier made several connections with numerous city officials. He reached out to Ebony and told her that he might be able to help her out. So he made a few phone calls to find a shelter that had space for the family of five.

Jeff Glazier looking at photographs

Source: YouTube

Ebony, who was intrigued by the offer, was admittedly a little suspicious. After the police basically took her home away from her and arrested her no less, they were now suddenly on her side? Something didn’t add up. This wasn’t the way police typically handle these kinds of situations…

And Found Her a Place to Stay

But, the Deputy Chief gave her an interesting explanation. When Glazier spoke with bony, he quoted the author Maya Angelou: “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” Though he and Ebony were two very different people, Glazier knew they shared the same values and wanted to assure her that his heart was in the right place.

Ebony and her kids are exciting while talking to the Deputy Chief

Source: YouTube

Unfortunately, Ebony has been turned away from more homeless shelters than she could count. But now that she had Glazier on her side, Rhodes was able to find a place to house them. They found five beds at a local shelter within days. It was a short-term fix for sure, but it was a huge help nonetheless.

Getting Back on Their Feet

But the Deputy Chief wasn’t going to leave it at that. Glazier also decided to help out in another way. He started a GoFundMe page for the Rhodes family to provide a “safety net” for them as they got back on their feet. The page raised tens of thousands of dollars, creating a huge turnaround for the family in need.

The GoFundMe page that the Deputy Chief made with $20 raised out of $15 thousand and a photograph of the family with the officer

Source: GoFundMe

With Ebony’s hard work and these thoughtful contributions, they were able to leave the shelter and move into a home. Ebony was finally able to rent out an apartment. Now her kids could sleep under a real roof and focus on school again. Now they didn’t have to worry about if it was safe or not to sleep in a strip mall parking lot.

A Blessing in Disguise

As Ebony was getting back on her feet, she started to realize that getting pulled over that day was really a blessing in disguise. She saw first-hand how one act of kindness could turn around someone’s entire life. And in this case, it turned around her whole family’s life. She didn’t know it at the time, but this act of kindness led to something wonderful a few years later.

Three of Ebony’s children, including her older son

Source: GoFundMe

The eldest son, Calvin, is now going to college to study engineering. Ebony said her family came a long way from being homeless and sleeping in their car to having her son attend college. For Calvin, he knows that his family has been through a lot, but he never gave up and kept his head up.

Against the Odds

The 19-year-old is going to Georgia State after having graduated with honors from his high school in South Fulton County. The young man also won an “Against the Odds” award. During the two and half years that their GoFundMe page has existed, the family faced some new challenges. Ebony was sick for a while, and one of her sons got burned.

Ebony and Deputy Chief posing together

Source: Twitter

Ebony said the GoFundMe page helped her family face those challenges without having to lose their apartment. She continues to work full-time, as does her son Calvin. Next month, he begins college at Georgia State, where he wants to study engineering. The Rhodes say they were blessed by the Atlanta Police.

The Spirit of the Square

Acts of kindness like this one aren’t as rare as we may think (especially during times likes these). As a matter of fact, this is another person whose life was turned around dramatically after someone decided to help out. A particular act of kindness benefitted a man named Jose Antonio, who went out of his way to be kind to everyone he could in Palma de Mallorca.

Josete with unkempt hair

Source: Twitter

Over the years, Jose became a fixture of the Spanish city. But he still found himself in a predicament. He was nicknamed “Josete” by the locals, and he liked to think of himself as “el espíritu de la plaza,” which translates to “the spirit of the square.”

Josete’s Dilemma

Josete liked to connect with every single person in his neighborhood, despite the fact that life was never kind to him. Josete used to work as an electrician during his younger days until his struggles with depression and mental health ultimately derailed his career. Without any support during such troubled times, he lost everything.

Josete with a hat on

Source: YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

By 2017, Josete reached his mid-50s, even though his long hair and ragged beard made him appear much older. As you can see, he certainly stood out from the crowd. But his appearance didn’t hold him back, nor did it stop people from interacting with the kind fellow. One local resident named Salva Garcia couldn’t help but notice Josete’s dilemma.

Keeping Himself Fed

There were those who tended to brush off the homeless man, but Salva wasn’t like them. He actually took the time to get to know the man a little bit. The former electrician was sustaining himself on a series of odd jobs, like parking neighbors’ cars. Obviously, he didn’t have the license to do so, and it put him at constant risk of getting arrested.

A photograph of Josete walking in a parking lot and pointing to something or someone off-camera

Source: YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

But nonetheless, his parking gig pulled in just enough money to keep him fed. Yet, again and again, Josete came up short whenever he would look for apartments. He just wasn’t able to scrape together enough money to rent a room. Salva didn’t have much cash himself, but he discovered a way to help the man out.

A Complimentary Makeover

While Salva didn’t have much spare cash to assist Josete to get back on his feet, he felt that he could help the nice man in another way. Salva, a barber, explained to Josete that he was one of the best barbers in town, and asked if he wanted a free haircut.

Salva working on Josete’s hair

Source: YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

Understanding that a nice makeover could improve his job prospects, Josete accepted the offer. But he made a rather unusual request. He asked Salva to cover the mirror. He wanted to wait until the transformation was complete to see how he looked. And with the decades of knots and tangles in Josete’s disheveled hair, Salva got to work.

A Complete Transformation

Despite the difficulty of taming such messy hair, Salva was a true artist and got the job done. He worked through the matted hair, and, slowly, a new man started to take shape in front of him. Salva and his assistant were able to uncover parts of Josete’s face that probably haven’t seen sunlight in years.

The back of Josete’s head after the transformation

Source: YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

Salva decided that a simple haircut wasn’t the complete job. He pulled out a bottle from his drawer and revealed his plan. He decided to dye Josete’s hair, a rich brown. The man was already looking a lot younger. The makeover turned out to be a strange sensation for a man who, for years, had only worried about one thing: where he would sleep at night.

His New Look

But Salva’s magic wasn’t over yet. Understanding that clothes make the man, he gave Josete a crisp new white shirt, nice pants, and a pair of shoes. Suddenly, the homeless man looked like he was the CEO of a tech company! All the while, Josete didn’t get a glimpse of what he looked like yet.

Josete sitting near a statue with red pants and a white shirt on

Source: YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

Salva hoped that his friend would approve of his new look. Josete then leaned forward in anticipation as his barber uncovered the mirror. When Josete laid eyes on his new look, he was speechless. He looked amazing, like a man who had everything going for him. He wondered how his new-look would change his future.

He Believed in His Potential

When Josete strutted his stuff on the city streets, those who knew him instantly caught sight of his new makeover. They cheered him on, giving him even more confidence. He smiled, wiped away a few tears, and continued on. There were moments when Josete had to re-introduce himself to people he would see every day.

Josete greeting a friend who looks surprised

Source: YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

A woman named Paolo Bocardo, for instance, paid Josete to park her car every day, but she didn’t even recognize him until he approached her. Later, one of his old friends jokingly asked him, “Where’s your Ferrari?” Years passed, and Josete slowly got back on his feet. It truly was an incredible transformation, and all it took was a haircut, a new outfit, and Salva’s belief in Josete’s potential.

If you liked these personal stories, especially the first one, then you most definitely will find the next one interesting to read. This is the story of a woman called Paige Birgfeld and her secret life.

Stories of double lives exposed come out regularly, but the story of Paige Birgfeld is definitely one for the books. She is the mother of three who led a secret life as an escort and disappeared without a trace in 2007. Her secret not only destroyed her family but also led to her untimely demise.

Paige Birgfeld and her children in the pool

Source: LifeDaily

The details that surround the story of Paige Birgfeld seem taken straight out from a thriller. A mother that ventures into the dark side of life to provide for her kids is something that you’ve often seen in movies. From movies, everyone knows it could end badly. This is the story of a loving mother who tried to do the best she could for her family, but unfortunately hurt them all, and herself, in the process.

A Seemingly Ordinary Mother

Anyone who has had children knows that most parents would do anything for them. Paige Birgfeld was no exception, and she did her best to offer her children the best life she could as a single mom. However, she had a dangerous secret that would eventually destroy all the work she did for her family.

Paige Birgfeld

Source: yourtango.com

Paige was one of those mothers who never misses her kids’ soccer practice, and she didn’t know any different from all of the other soccer moms in town. She was juggling several careers and struggling to take care of her young children after her two divorces.

A Devoted Mother of Three

Many of the people in the neighborhood where Paige Birgfeld lived knew her as a supermom who was always on top of cleaning, driving, and cooking, while also juggling her jobs. She was there for her kids every moment of the day and even allowed them all to sleep in her bed.

Paige Birgfeld

Source: abcnews.com

Most of her friends were impressed with her mothering skills and over the years, observed how she sacrificed her own privacy and needs to provide her little ones with a loving environment. However, little did they know Paige had a terrible secret.

Struggling to Make Ends Meet

As having three young children is not cheap, Paige decided that she needed to make some money on the side on top of her income from her several jobs. As such, she tried multiple money-making methods, including selling baby slings, cookware, and even flipping houses.

Paige Birgfeld

Source: foxnews.com

But all this didn’t work very well, and besides not making much money from these schemes, Paige realized that they were taking up a lot of her precious time. So she expanded into babysitting and even considered breeding dogs to supplement her income. But when she figured that her situation was already a chaotic one without the addition of more children or dogs, Paige decided that she needed to look into other options.

Soccer Mom By Day, Escort by Night

Because she had lots of responsibilities and was struggling to make and needs, Paige was forced to come with an unorthodox solution to her problems. She had loved dancing ever since she was a kid, and at one point, she opened a dance school. She was in her 20s at the time, and this is how she met her first husband.

Paige holding her children

Source: TrendsCatchers.co.uk

But dancing on its own wasn’t the way to pay the bills but in order to be able to get out of the red. Paige realized that she needed something that would bring in lots of extra cash without taking up a lot of her time. The fact that her method was slightly illegal was just a tiny detail.

Building a Business as an Escort

Because she has excellent organization skills, it didn’t take Paige long to set up her own escort service and start working under the fake name “Carrie.” She ran her business from her home and a nearby office she rented, and she only confided in some of her best friends.

Paige Birgfeld

Source: CBS News

According to them, Paige was never an escort herself, but sometimes she would occasionally dance on the job. She mostly offers services such as stripping, nude massages, and role-playing. Unknown to her family, Paige had spent a brief time serving in a club when she was younger, which is perhaps how she got the escorting idea in the first place.

Things Start to Go Awry

After a couple of months of earning cash on the side with her escort service, things looked a bit brighter for Paige. She was now in a better place financially, but she wasn’t aware of the fact the trouble was just outside her door.

Things don't always go according to plan

Source: WorldLifestyle

In June 2007, she met with her ex-husband Howard Beigler, in Eagle, Colorado. She then drove home, and when Howard called her to make sure she got home fine, she answered and told him she was nearly home. That was the last thing anyone heard from her.

Paige Is Missing

Even though the drive home was just 120 miles, Paige wasn’t home in the morning, which is when her children and their nanny began to worry. It wasn’t unusual for Paige to be out all hours, so in the beginning, they just thought she was late.

Single mom goes missing

Source: NBC News

But after two days without even a phone call, they started to sense that something was indeed very wrong. They decided to eventually call the police and tell them that Paige had been missing without a trace, and they couldn’t get in contact with her.

The Search Begins

In many missing person cases, the police need to spend days or weeks looking for their first clue, but when Paige Birgfeld disappeared, things happened so much faster for them. The following night the police found her red Ford Focus burning in a parking lot just 3 miles away from her house.

Paige Birgfeld

Source: NBC News

However, there was no sign of her anywhere nearby, and it was only one month later that the police found her business cards and checks scattered along the highway, across an 11-mile stretch. That was the moment the police learned that there was much more to the story of Paige than they were led to believe.

Secrets Come to Light

After finding her business cards, the police started to investigate “Carrie’s” double life and began to interview her friends and parents. Paige’s parents were shocked to learn that her brother had done something so morally questionable and agreed with the police that it was entirely possible that Paige’s disappearance had something to do with her secret life.

Paige Birgfeld

Source: ABCnews

Because everyone knew that Paige was a devoted mother, they soon realized someone really wanted her gone. She would have never left her children like that. So, soon after the police investigated Paige’s secret life and learned about the way she was earning money on the side, they were convinced that everything pointed to foul play.

The Initial Theory of the Police Is Dismissed

Because Paige led such a difficult life, it was easy to assume that she simply grew tired of it and decided to abandon her family. However, after extensive questioning of friends and family, the police dismissed this original theory because they were convinced this was not a woman who would leave her children willingly.

Different theories are thrown around

Source: ABC News

When questioned by the police, Paige’s father told them that it was incredibly improbable that she would do such a thing. “If Paige had two broken legs, she would crawl on her elbows to get to those kids,” he said in a statement.

The Focus of the Investigation Shifts

As soon as the police were convinced that there was no way Paige would have abandoned her children, they started to shift the focus of the investigation. They decided to have a look at the men in Paige’s life, starting with her ex-husbands. Paige’s friends knew that she had recently started to see her first ex-husband again.

Paige's car is seen torched

Source: LifeDaily

The police decided that Howard Beigler was a person of interest because he was with her on the day she was reported missing. The two had been high school sweethearts, and their relationship lasted for over a decade.

Her Ex Would Never Harm Her

Even though the police centered their investigation on the ex-husbands, friends and family were positive that despite their differences, the fathers of Paige’s children would never harm her.

Paige and her first husband at their wedding

Source: NBC News

The police were soon convinced of this as well, because after investigating a abit more, they found out that her first ex-husband had followed up several times, calling Paige to see if she got home safe. They then turned their attention to Rob Dixon, her Paige’s second husband, who had a bad history with Paige.

What About Her Second Ex-Husband?

Dixon became a person of interest in the case because he had a complicated relationship with his ex-wife. They had a tumultuous relationship, and according to Colorado District Attorney Dan Rubinstein, “He would get angry. He would yell loudly. He would make threats or statements that would cause people to be very concerned.”

Paige's father, Frank Birgfeld

Source: Daily Mail

Paige’s father was worried as well, and he said, “Dixon is a person that’s kind of two personalities. We think of him as ‘Good Rob’ and ‘Bad Rob.’ At the first part, it was 100-percent Good Rob, and I think as his financial situation deteriorated, we saw a lot more of Bad Rob.”

A History of Physical Abuse

In 2011, when she was still married to Dixon, Paige called 911 in distress, telling the operator, “My husband and I were in a fight. He wanted the children to stay with him, and he said that I would come home and find them all murdered.”

Paige with her family

Source: Daily Mail

The police defused the situation, but just a year later, Paige made a second call, claiming her husband abused her physically. The two of them divorced after eight years of marriage, and Paige was left to take care of three children alone.

The Second Ex-Husband Is Cleared

Even though they had a history of abuse, the police couldn’t find any link between Rob Dixon and Paige’s disappearance. In fact, Dixon was in Philadelphia at the time Paige disappeared. He also appeared very concerned about his ex-wife going missing and made several phone calls to her phone to see if she was all right.

The red car was destroyed

Source: ABC News

After questioning her second husband, the police decided that he didn’t have anything to do with Paige’s disappearance. There were now out of immediate leads and had to expand their search.

Going After the Clients

Because Paige was in the escort business, it was only a matter of time for the police to start going after her clients. At least eight of them were interrogated, and only one of them behaved suspiciously enough for the police to make a person of interest.

Lester Jones, the prime suspect

Source: Mirror

His name was Lester Ralph Jones, and phone records indicated that he was one of the last people Paige had called before she disappeared. The thing is Jones had an alibi, but that wasn’t enough to quench the suspicions of the police completely.

A Body Is Found

There was absolutely no news regarding Paige’s whereabouts until 2012, when a hiker in Western Colorado uncovered a body that was immediately tested, and it was confirmed that the remains were indeed those of Paige Birgfeld. Further investigation and an autopsy proved that she had been dead since the night she disappeared.

Lester Jones

Source: Denver Post

The police were no longer looking for a missing person, but for a murderer instead. They went back to the details of the previous investigation and decided to take in Lester Jones because they weren’t satisfied with his explanations and alibi.

Who Was Lester Jones?

Lester Ralph Jones was 55 years old at the time Paige Birgfeld disappeared. He denied involvement in her murder continuously, even though he was one of the last people Paige called before she died. There was not much evidence of a relationship between Jones and Birgfeld, but they did indeed communicate by phone according to records.

Lester Jones at trial

Source: Headline Leak

Even though Jones initially denied even knowing Birgfeld, he then admitted he paid for a massage. Lester Jones worked just across the street from the place where Paige’s car was found burning.

A History of Sexual Assaults

Besides his suspicious behaviors and proximity to the place where the car was found burning, Jones was also considered a prime suspect by the police because he was previously convicted of sexual assault and even kidnapping of his ex-wife. It’s no wonder that the officers were very keen to have a talk to him from the beginning.

Lester Jones at trial with his attorney

Source: CBS News

“On the week of June 28th, Lester Jones was first out of town on the weekend prior to with his wife in California, and then he came back to Grand Junction, and she went on to Georgia,” said Colorado District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.

Suspicions Are Growing

The police had enough evidence to interrogate Lester Jones more, as every time they had contact with him, he gave them reasons to be more suspicious. The prosecution found a “whole host of items, such as handwritten notes about other escorts, what their bra sizes were, what type of sex they would have if they would have sex at all,” according to Rubinstein.

Paige Birgfeld as a bride

Source: CBS News

Further objects that fueled the police’s suspicious against Jones included two men’s wigs, a stash of Viagra. and a food scale from the company Paige was working for as a part-time saleswoman.

Police Are Getting Closer

During his first interrogation, Jones denied knowing Paige altogether. But during a second interrogation about his whereabouts on the night of the murder, he changed his initial story in which he said he went to Walmart to buy a soda, ultimately denying being in Walmart at all.

Paige at a party

Source: The Denver Post

When dogs were taken to Paige’s car, they alerted the police of Jones’ smell in the front seat, but he continued to deny he went anywhere with her. All the proof the police had was not enough to jail him, though, so when Jones initially went for trial, he was set free.

No Body, No Conviction

One of the main reasons Jones was allowed to go free was the fact that no body had been discovered until 2012. It had been very difficult for the prosecution to convict him in the absence of a body, so even though there was enough evidence against him, he was allowed to walk.

Jones at trial

Source: KKCO

“Certainly, you can’t bring this to a conclusion, a trial, what have you — the absence of the body certainly muddies that water,” said Paige’s father after Jones was allowed to walk as a free man.

Finding the Body Changed Everything

In the spring of 2012, a hiker who was exploring a creek bed located approximately 60 miles south of the last place the police and searchers had previously found Paige’s business cards scattered along the highway, stumbled upon human remains.

A photograph people in orange vests studying a map and ready to go look for Paige

Source: The Denver Post

“A hiker in the Wells Gulch area just happened by a human skull, and when they unearthed it, it had duct tape that was sort of around the jawline area and around the back of the head,” said Dan Rubinstein.

Forensics Are Inconclusive

Even though the police and forensic investigators quickly determined that the human remains were indeed those of Paige Birgfeld, the crime scene provided a gruesome but incomplete picture, so no one was exactly sure how Paige died. More bones were scattered across a mile-long stretch, so determining exactly how Paige met her end was impossible.

A photograph of the place where Paige was found, with rocks and dirt all around

Source: Ineresticle

“The reality is we don’t know exactly how Paige died,” said Dan Rubinstein in a later interview. “What we do know is that she was kidnapped, and we know that because of the items that were strewn down Highway 50, and we know that because of the duct tape. You don’t duct tape a person who is already deceased.”

The Family Is Relieved

Even though the discovery of the body meant that there was absolutely no hope for Paige to be found alive, her family was relieved because they finally got closer. Deep in their hearts, they already knew Paige was dead, but not having proof was indeed very difficult to cope with.

Paige’s father is standing in front of a large piece of land

Source: Daily Mail

This was also the time for the police to reopen the investigation in the case of Lester Jones because he did not have a solid alibi for his whereabouts on the night of the murder. Even though he did not have an apparent reason for killing Paige, his proximity to the place where she was found was enough for the police to proceed to trial.

The First Trial

Paige’s family got their closure, but they were not keen to see their mother’s and daughter’s murderer brought to justice. When Lester Jones was first brought to trial, it had been over nine years since Paige disappeared. In 2016, Jones first stood trial for both kidnapping and murder.

Lisa Nance gives an interview

Source: People.com

He continued to insist that he was not guilty and that he had no reason at all to kill Paige, but his former wife, Lisa Nance, came forward to claim that he was an abusive man with a history of violence that must have killed Paige because she knew too much and he didn’t want his current wife to find out that he was paying escorts for massages. Her testimony was enough for the police to bring back the charges against Jones.

The Jury Surprises Everyone

In September 2016, Lester Jones went to trial for the kidnapping and murder of Paige Birgfeld, but everyone was in for a surprise. The result was a mistrial because the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Johnson was charged with first and second-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, and second-degree arson, but he was allowed to walk because of a hung jury.

Lester Jones during the trial

Source: KJCT

For the first time, attorneys spent approximately six weeks presenting testimony from various witnesses, and according to KREX, “Jones’ lawyers focused their final argument on five other men who they say could be responsible for Birgfeld’s murder, but were not pursued because of what defense attorneys call a deficient investigation conducted by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.”

A Hung Jury

Jurors were ordered by Chief District Judge Brian Flynn to keep deliberating after they initially decided that they couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict. A note from the jury said, “We are unable to come to a unanimous decision. The jury feels we have exhausted our choices.”

Lester Jones smirking at the first trial

Source: CBS Denver

After two more hours of deliberation, the 12 jurors decided to send another note to the court to inform that “The jury remains in the same position. … We do not feel any further discussion will change our current state.” It was that moment that district attorney Dan Rubinstein decided that the best course of action would be a mistrial.

The Prosecution Doesn’t Rest

The fact that Lester Jones was allowed to walk free thanks to a mistrial didn’t mean that District Attorney Rubinstein gave up the case. In December 2016, a second trial began with a new jury. The first one had been a huge blow to Paige’s family, but the prosecution managed to arrange a second trial quickly to bring them justice.

Paige’s daughter taking the stand

Source: NBC News

At the beginning of the second trial, Jones was still adamant he had nothing to do the kidnapping and murder of Paige Birgfeld. However, the prosecution reminded the court that everything pointed out in his direction, starting from the fact that he was working opposite the place where Paige’s car was found and that he had no alibi for the night of the murder.

The Final Verdict

The second time around the jury was much more decisive and found Lester Jones, who was 65 at the time, guilty of murder and kidnapping. At the sentencing that took place right before Christmas, Jones was given life in prison without the chance of parole.

Lester Jones is walking into the courthouse in a prison jumpsuit and handcuffs, being escorted by sheriffs

Source: Denver7

Paige’s family finally got the justice they deserved even though it took nine years and two trials to get to that result. “What happens to him doesn’t bring Paige back,” said Frank Birgfeld after the verdict. “If he wanted to make a deal and skip prison and bring her back, I’d take it.”

Where Is Paige’s Family Now?

Paige’s three children are currently living with their father on the East Coast and are keeping in touch with their grandfather. During the trial, Paige’s daughter, Jess Dixon, the stand to testify and describe her mother as a person who did everything for her kids.

Paige with her child

Source: KJCT

She presented a lot of details from the day her mother disappeared. “We had been trying to get her back on the phone and it wasn’t working, and we weren’t sure what to do at the time. We were young and our au pair didn’t know the situation,” Jess said. “Our mom was a very kind lady. She did everything for her kids.”

Why Did Lester Jones Kill Paige?

Even though he was sent away for life for the kidnapping and murder of Paige Birgfeld, Lester Jones continued to argue that he was innocent, and no one knows for sure why he killed Paige. According to his ex-wife, he may have done so to conceal the fact that he was using Paige’s escort service.

Paige Birgfeld

Source: Law & Crime

That’s just a supposition though, and we may never find out the exact reason for which Paige lost her life, neither the way she died. Still, even without this information, the fact that the murderer was convicted brought some closure to her family.

A Secret Life Led to the Destruction of a Family

The case that was opened by the prosecution following the death of Paige Birgfeld revealed more about her than she ever hoped her family would know. Paige never intended for her parents and children to find out that she was earning a living managing an escort service.

Police searching for Paige

Source: Star Herald

However, everyone who knew her still remembers that she was a kind and loving mother who only took a dark turn because she wanted to make sure her kids had a better life. Sadly, her efforts were cruelly stopped, and she left three children alone in the world. They all remember her as a wonderful mom and wish things were different.

From Ideal Mother to Escort Service Owner

Paige Birgfeld lived in the humble town of Grand Junction, Colorado, and in the eyes of everyone who knew her, she was the picture-perfect soccer mom. Everyone who knew her liked her, but no one suspected she was leading a double life.

Paige Birgfeld and here child

Source: NBC News

There were, of course, rumors that she was a divorced mom because her second husband was abusive, but that didn’t change anyone’s opinion about her. Still, as we know from books, movies, and real life, no one is that perfect, and we all have something to hide. In Paige’s case, it was a dark secret that would cost her her life.

Everyone Searched for Her

Following her disappearance, everyone was worried and searched for Paige, which proved that she was a missed member of the community. The police initially searched only the Grand Junction area where Paige lived, but then extended the search to the whole Mesa County.

Volunteers search for Paige

Source: The Denver Post

Even though Paige’s family and friends initially believed that she would soon return home, the police didn’t want to leave anything to chance, and they scoured the terrain that was lush with vegetation for weeks, without success though.

Hundreds of Volunteers

Proving once more that everyone cared for Paige, more than 100 volunteers join the Birgfeld family in a frantic search for the mother of three. No one was really sure what they were searching for, but everyone hoped they would find Paige alive. After the business cards were found on the highway, Paige’s dark secret was revealed.

A volunteer is hanging a missing person poster for Paige

Source: Mirror

Even though her family and the entire community were a bit shocked to find out that Paige managed an escort service, they continued to believe she was a wonderful mother and understood that all she did was for the wellbeing of her children. A shadow was cast over her image, but it didn’t affect her reputation as a mother.

A Man Called Jim

In the early stages of the investigation, the police had reason to believe that a man called Jim was talking often with Paige on the phone. But it was almost impossible to trace him because he used a prepaid phone to call her. In the beginning, no one suspected why that was.

Lester Jones’ mug shot

Source: Daily Mail

Because the phone was prepaid, there was no way to tie a real name or credit card to it, so the name Jim could very well have been a false one. But after investigating all the calls, even after the phone died out, the police were able to find out that the man called Jim was, in fact, Lester Jones.

The Family Did Not Cope Well with Paige’s Disappearance

Paige’s kids were desperate for answers after their mother disappeared without a trace. Paige’s sister, Callie, tried to comfort her niece who kept asking where her mom was, saying “Wherever she is, she wants to be with you right now.”

Paige’s parents with her and her child

Source: NBC News

After the body was discovered, the family got some closure, but they were still terribly affected by the fact that she had been dead for years and left to rot in the woods. When the skeletal remains were found, Paige had to be identified from her dental records.

Media Coverage

The kidnapping and murder of Paige Birgfeld caught the attention of the national and international press, with articles being published constantly about the search and then the trial of Lester Jones. The entire world watched as the criminal was brought to justice.

Paige Birfgeld

Source: CBS News

In 2018, “Betrayed – Death by Desire” was released by the Discovery Channel as part of their murder investigations series. The episode focused on Paige’s life and the dark secret that would lead to her untimely death. It also detailed the trial and sentence given to Lester Jones.

A Life Destroyed

It took nine years and two trials for the police and prosecution to find the murderer of Paige Birgfeld and bring him to face justice. Paige’s family had to deal with both her disappearance and the fact that they didn’t know whether she was alive or not for years.

A photograph of the back of Paige’s car after it was torched with the trunk open

Source: HyperActivz

The secret life Paige was leading eventually destroyed everything she loved and worked so hard for. But most of the people who knew her argued that she was cruelly snatched from her family when all she did was do everything in her power to offer her kids a good life.

© 2021 living magazine all rights reserved

Design and Code by elevate