Dark Side Of The Mesa

Did Michael Blagg Murder His Wife And Daughter?

This broadcast originally aired on Oct. 9, 2004.

In the high desert, on the Rockies western slope, the Mesas tower over the town of Grand Junction, Colo., protected from the outside world.

But on June 4, 2002, Grand Junction saw the unearthing of a shocking secret at the local landfill.

The decomposed body of 34-year-old Jennifer Blagg was found wrapped in a red and black plastic tent.

Jennifer and her six-year-old daughter, Abby, had been missing for seven months.

Correspondent Susan Spencer reports.

What happened inside the walls of the Blagg family house still haunts the town of Grand Junction. The Blaggs – Michael, Jennifer and Abby – seemed so happy together.

"Two years ago, I had everything," says Michael Blagg, Jennifer's husband. "I had a great job, wonderful family, incredible wife and daughter. Everything was going perfect for me."

"They're kind of a poster-child sort of a family," recalls Rev. Art Blankenship, who got to know the Blaggs in 2000 through their small, evangelical church. "They just looked like an ideal couple. They were friendly, open, and people seemed to like them a lot."

Both Michael and Jennifer were enthusiastic born-again Christians, and organized personal prayer groups for the congregation. The couple had met 10 years before in California, when he was in the Navy and she was in college. He was a decorated Gulf War veteran, a helicopter pilot.

Jennifer stayed close to her mother, Marilyn, even after she married Michael in 1993. "I liked Michael from the beginning," recalls Marilyn Conway. "He was a very personable young man. They seemed happy. I thought they were happy."

Michael's mother, Betsy Blagg, also agreed that the two were a fairy-tale couple: "In every letter, she'd [Jennifer] tell me how much she loved Michael. Everything was marvelous. They couldn't be more happy, and he was absolutely in love with her."

Their daughter, Abby, was born three years after the Blaggs married and Michael and Jennifer seemed to dote on her.

When Michael went out the door at 6 a.m. on Nov. 13, 2001, the day his family vanished, he says his wife and daughter were still asleep.

He headed off to his job as an operations manager at the Ametek Dixson Company, a local manufacturing plant. He says he called around 7 a.m., called again mid-morning, and then again at noon. No one answered.

"Now I'm getting a little worried. I haven't heard from her. She hasn't called me back on any of these calls," says Michael, who called her again that afternoon.

Michael says he left for home around 4 p.m. He later told the police that he sensed something was wrong the second he walked in and saw the back door open. But he says nothing prepared him for the horror of what he saw in the bedroom.