(CBS) MESA COUNTY, Colo. - A hiker has found human remains tentatively identified as those of Paige Birgfeld, the Grand Junction mother who has been missing since 2007 and was considered by investigators to be a murder victim, reports CBS Denver.
According to CBS affiliate KREX, on Tuesday, March 6, at approximately 12:30p.m., the Delta County Sheriff's Office received a report of human remains found in the Wells Gulch area by a hiker.
The office requested assistance in recovering the skeletal remains from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Delta County Coroner's Office, the Mesa County Coroner's Office, and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.
Forensic dentistry has been used to tentatively identify the remains as belonging to Birgfeld, a 34-year-old mother of three who sold kitchen products and ran an escort service, reports CBS Denver. When Birgfeld disappeared, investigators found her car on fire. Bloodhounds tracked her scent to an RV service facility, but her body was never found.
Other personal items were found along with the remains and will be considered for DNA testing, reports KREX.
Birgfeld's father, Frank Birgfeld, spoke to KREX about the possibility that his daughter had been finally found.
"I think of Paige many times every day and it's sad when I think about her. If it turns out that the police report comes back that this is she, I won't feel uplifted, I won't feel good, I still will think of her several times a day," said Birgfeld.
According to The Associated Press, in October 2007, investigators identified Lester Ralph Jones, then 56, as a suspect. Sgt. Matt Lewis with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office confirmed to The Associated Press that Jones is still a suspect in the case.
Investigators are continuing to search the Wells Gulch area for any other clues