DENVER – The first husband of missing mom Paige Birgfeld says his ex-wife visited him the night she disappeared, and that she was planning on keeping two appointments with escort-service clients before heading home, according to an exclusive interview with FOX31-TV in Denver.
Howard Beigler also said he doubted he would ever again see his former wife, who vanished three weeks ago.
Investigators are not focusing their investigation on Beigler, the station reported, though they have not cleared him or Birgfeld's second ex-husband, Rob Dixon, as suspects.
Beigler also told the station his ex-wife had knack for milking money out of men, but that he had hoped the two of them could rekindle their relationship.
Authorities have said they suspect foul play in the disappearance of 34-year-old mother of three who led a double life as "Carrie," a popular escort with service called Models Inc.
Searchers last weekend found items belonging to Birgfeld along U.S. 50.
Birgfeld's car, a 2005 red Ford Focus, was found June 1, ablaze in a parking lot in an industrial area located about two miles from her Grand Junction home.
She was last seen alive on June 28.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel newspaper reported that Birgfeld posted messages on chefsuccess.com indicating she feared the return of her second ex-husband Rob Dixon.
"Nothing during the course of our investigation has lead us to believe that Paige walked away from her family or that she left of her own free will," Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said in a written statement.
"Unfortunately, we do suspect foul play in her disappearance and the subsequent arson of her vehicle."
Birgfeld, meanwhile, appeared to be living a life of contradictions.
The Denver Post reported that in the middle of her home office was a sheet of smiley-face stickers she used to reward her three children.
Smiley faces also appear on Birgfeld's "Naughtynightlife" Web site, where she advertised her services as "Carrie," the Post reported.
The newspaper said men would use smiley or frowning faces to rate the services of the women who advertise at the Web site. "Carrie," the newspaper said, had recently earned three smiley faces — including one posted three days before she vanished — for "extra" services.
Birgfeld comes from a prominent family. Her father, Frank Birgfeld, is the retired director of the National Association of Securities Dealers.
She lived in a million-dollar home, attended local Mom's Club meetings and hosted cookware parties.
Investigators are narrowing down a handful of "persons of interest" who were clients of Birgfeld's escort business, a list gathered from cell-phone records. Those records show Beigler spoke with Birgfeld at about 9 p.m. on the night she disappeared on her way home to Grand Junction.
She never reached home, and was reported missing two days later when the family's live-in nanny called police at the urging of her oldest child, according to police.
Dixon is well known for having donating millions of dollars' worth of firetrucks and other equipment to departments around the state without having paid for the equipment.
He also lost more than $1 million for a fire-district board he served on.
Birgfeld told friends she had worked as an exotic dancer before she married Dixon in 1998 in Las Vegas, according to published reports. The couple had three children, ages 3 to 8.
Birgfeld reportedly returned to exotic dancing in 2004 when the couple's finances took a downturn.
Courts records show Dixon was arrested on domestic-violence charges in 2005 for allegedly slapping and shoving Birgfeld after finding underwear in her car that led him to believe she was engaging in sex acts.
Since her divorce in 2006, Birgfeld made and sold baby slings, sold kitchenware, worked as a mystery shopper, gave dance lessons to children and speculated in local real estate.