This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," July 19, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, the Joneses. They live just 12 miles from Paige Birgfeld's million-dollar Colorado home. Do Lester and Elaine Jones know something about the missing mother and escort service boss's disappearance? Let's go live to Colorado. Sheriff Stan Hilkey from the Mesa County sheriff's department joins us. Welcome, Sheriff.
SHERIFF STAN HILKEY, MESA COUNTY, CO: Thank you for having me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sheriff, I understand you can't give us the particulars of these searches, but you have now searched their home twice, is that correct, sir?
HILKEY: Yes, we have.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you searched other homes?
HILKEY: I can't comment on any other search warrants. They'd all be sealed at this point. So unfortunately, I can't give that information.
VAN SUSTEREN: I can understand the information contained within the search warrant and the main parties, but the actual existence of search warrants are quite public when people go in and search. Are you saying you can't even tell me whether other search warrants have been executed?
HILKEY: I think the ones that have been executed are pretty well known, and any of the other ones — any other search warrants would be sealed anyway, and I couldn't talk about them.
VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of the execution of the search warrants, was the — was it productive?
HILKEY: Well, I think any time that we can get a look at something and try to, you know, discover if there's any clues or evidence, it is productive. And even eliminating things is productive. But we're not talking about the specific items that were found or that we're looking for.
I think in any kind of an investigation, some things, you know, are done publicly and some aren't, but it doesn't signal any change in the ambitious pace of this investigation or the determination of the people that are trying to solve it or find Paige.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sheriff, Paige was last seen or at least spoken to on the night of June 28. Have you be able to go back and figure out what she had been doing in the 24 hours preceding her disappearance?
HILKEY: Yes, that has been a part of the investigation, and I think investigators are pretty comfortable for the timeframe prior to her coming back to Grand Junction on that Thursday evening.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was she doing for that 24 hours? I mean, where had she been? What had she been doing?
HILKEY: Well, it's been talked about pretty freely here with regard to — she met with her first ex-husband in Eagle, Colorado, in the day prior to coming back to Grand Junction. I can't give you specifics, because I just don't know them, about the entire 24 hours. But that information is known to our investigators, and they feel pretty comfortable with that.
It's the time that she came back to Grand Junction and those people that she was meeting with or wanting to meet with her that have really been the focus of this investigation.
VAN SUSTEREN: About what time do you think she hit the city limits of Grand Junction on the 28th, having left Eagle, where she had seen her first husband?
HILKEY: I'm sorry, I don't have that particular fact. I know it was in the evening.
VAN SUSTEREN: So she left her first husband's home in Eagle or meeting with him, drove to Grand Junction and never went home. She went to see someone or someone nabbed her or something happened at that point, right?
HILKEY: Yes, that's what we believe, is it's that period of time, getting back to Grand Junction, that is the most critical right now for us to understand what happened to Paige.
VAN SUSTEREN: You have spoken to husband number one and husband number two. Would you characterize both of them as being fully cooperative?
HILKEY: Yes, they're both cooperating with our investigators. We believe that we know where each of them was during the time of that missing — during those hours where she went missing. And frankly, there are other people, other persons of interest in this investigation that we're focusing on.
VAN SUSTEREN: The area from where you found her car to the home of the Joneses, where there's been a second search warrant executed — is the area in between where you found the items that belonged to her, to Paige, that have been apparently tossed out of the car or out of her possession?
HILKEY: I'm sorry? What...
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that the same direction...
HILKEY: What did you want to know about...
VAN SUSTEREN: Between the place where you found her car and the Joneses, between those two points, is that where you found her personal items, or were they in another direction from the car?
HILKEY: They're in a general direction, probably not — not in the line of sight with that house, no. But the items were found south of Grand Junction on highway 50, and that home is in east Grand Junction.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sheriff, thank you, sir, and good luck.
HILKEY: Thank you. We appreciate you helping us keep this story going.
VAN SUSTEREN: As much as we can, sir, we will. Thank you.
Chuck Murphy, assisting managing editor for The Denver Post, joins us. Chuck, the Joneses — their house has now been searched twice, and that, of course, is not insignificant. What can you tell me about this couple?
CHUCK MURPHY, DENVER POST: Well, Ralph (ph) Jones is a mechanic. His wife is a credit union manager or credit union employee. They've lived in this house for about two-and-a-half years. Ralph Jones has a criminal history — he goes by the name Ralph, by his middle name, according to his neighbors. He has a criminal history involve assault and attempted kidnapping. Our understanding is that's the result after domestic situation that occurred in a county near Grand Junction in 1999.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that with a woman other than his current wife?
MURPHY: That's correct. It was his previous wife at the time.
VAN SUSTEREN: Chuck, what's sort of tie between — if you even know, I don't know if we know — between Paige Birgfeld and this couple?
MURPHY: There is no known tie, nothing that stands out that we see. Neighbors tell us that they had not seen anyone who looks like her at the Jones house. We don't see any business relationship between them. There doesn't appear to be any obvious tie. And yet the sheriff's office has been out there twice.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know if the sheriffs have searched any other home?
MURPHY: We do not. As you mentioned to the sheriff, search warrants are public, but whether that search warrant is tied to a particular case or not is not. So it's surprising to me, if they have searched other homes, that they have not told media that those were also related to the Birgfeld case. This, with the exception of her own home, is the first one that we know of where they have described it as related to her disappearance.
VAN SUSTEREN: Has anyone from your newspaper made attempts to talk to the Jones couple and to find out what they have to say?
MURPHY: Yes. We don't know where they are, and neighbors don't know where they are. To the best of our knowledge, no one is in custody. No one has been arrested for this or in relation to this. But we have not been able to locate them. And as far as neighbors know, they were not present during the search.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you provide any sort of fill-in-the-blanks? Is there 24 hours between the time that she left Eagle, where husband number one was, and the time she hit Grand Junction the night she disappeared, June 28? Are you able to fill in any of the timeline of what she was doing?
MURPHY: Well, based on her first ex-husband's statements to police, there's not a long window. She had been with him in Eagle, in the mountains, and they had been discussing or had been working toward a reconciliation of their relationship. She then drives from there to Grand Junction, an hour-and-a-half or so, and had told him that she would contact him once she got home. He called her at about 9:00 o'clock, and she was not home yet. That's the last contact anybody knows of with Paige Birgfeld.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know if he knew of her other occupation, running the escort service? And what — you know — do you have any information on that?
MURPHY: He had suspicions, apparently, but I don't know that he had any great detail about what she was doing in her other life in Grand Junction.
VAN SUSTEREN: Husband number two at the time of her disappearance, June 28, was where?
MURPHY: I believe he was in Arizona at the time. There doesn't seem to be any reason to doubt — as the sheriff noted, they have both been cooperative with him. The couple's children are with his family. And he immediately came to Grand Junction. Now, I do not know that he has a rock- solid alibi for that period of time, and the sheriff's office has always maintained that he, as well as the first husband, are persons of interest in the case.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, anybody who knows her would in theory be a person of interest, when you can't find anybody, so in all fairness to them...
MURPHY: Exactly. And no one has been described as a suspect. So it's anyone who had contact with her. Anyone is a person of interest.
VAN SUSTEREN: Chuck, thank you.
MURPHY: You bet.
Paige Birgfeld visited her first husband, Ron Beigler, the very night she disappeared. John Romero, KDVR-TV reporter, spoke to Ron Beigler about that visit. John Romero joins us. Welcome, John. And what did husband number one say?
JOHN ROMERO, KDVR-TV DENVER: Hi, Greta. Well, Ron told me along the lines of what Chuck just described, that that had gotten back in touch early this year, had seen each other for the first time in March since the separation of their first marriage, and that they had made a rendezvous in Eagle that evening, on the 28th. It was a picnic, he said, and that broke up later in the evening.
Now, what Ron told me of interest during our interview and discussion yesterday was that at some point that evening, Paige had called him and told him she was going to see one or possibly two clients that evening. And he knew what that meant. He was fairly aware of the circles of the world that she was working in, in that part of her life, and that she had told him she was going to see one or two clients that evening. So that puts her at work with her escort service on the night that she disappeared.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was he trying to sort of warn her off going to see clients? I mean, it's typically a rather — it can be a rather dangerous occupation, assuming her clients were related to her day job, but to her night job.
ROMERO: No, I got the strong sense from Ron that he had made his peace with what she was doing, that the breakup of their first marriage in part, he said, was because of her work as a stripper at a now defunct strip club in Denver. And I think whatever issues he had with that, he had kind of since gotten over and was ready to kind of reconcile with her. He told me in very clear terms that he felt they were together in the sense that they had rekindled the relationship, they were in an established relationship, at the time of her disappearance.
VAN SUSTEREN: When did husband number one and Paige break up? Or the marriage dissolve.
ROMERO: In 1998, he told me. They were married in '95, and then it broke up in 1998. It had been reported in The Post that there were some issues over whether (ph) or not the children, and Ron also told me that he was becoming more and more uncomfortable with her activities as a stripper and that he was also aware that she had met the man that would become husband number two. So he was aware of that kind of burgeoning relationship.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any — where was husband number one that night of June 28? He says that she left Eagle and went to Grand Junction. Where was he?
ROMERO: He turned around and drove back to his home, which is in Aurora, a suburb just to the east of Denver. And as far as we know from police, they believe his alibi. The sheriff has told me, as he has told others, that they are sort of leading their investigation away from any potential involvement from either of the two ex-husbands.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Husband number two — was he aware that — and he was the divorce, so they weren't married (INAUDIBLE) Was he aware that she had rekindled her relationship with husband number one, and were there any problems with that dynamic?
ROMERO: I really don't have a good answer for you on that one. Husband number one intentionally steered away from husband number two. In fact, he told me that the reason why they were doing these rendezvous in kind of neutral locations was that he did not want to go to Grand Junction, in part because he did not want any kind of involvement with husband number two. So I don't know what...
VAN SUSTEREN: That's a — I mean, that sort of...
VAN SUSTEREN: That raises sort of an interesting question. If husband number one doesn't want to come to Grand Junction to see husband number two, yet she's divorced from husband number two, you know, what's the problem there?
ROMERO: Well, he was — you know, and the police have said this in as many words — he had what's been described as a pretty notorious temper. There was, you know, an incident or charge or allegation of domestic violence in that relationship. He was a guy who was known to have had a temper, who I guess husband number one wanted nothing to do with for some fairly obvious reasons.
VAN SUSTEREN: John, thank you.
ROMERO: And Greta, if I could add one thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.
ROMERO: To follow up on a point Chuck made, we have some very new reporting today out of our affiliate in Grand Junction, which we discussed tonight (INAUDIBLE) They have a source close to a friend and neighbor of Mr. Jones, Lester Jones, who confirms to them Lester Jones was a client of Paige Birgfeld's escort service. So that has, for the first time that we know of, established a relationship between Lester Jones or Ralph Jones and Paige Birgfeld.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which, of course, may then explain why the search warrant of his home, and maybe others have been searched, as well. Thank you.
Andrea Land knows Paige Birgfeld. Andrea Land joins from us Grand Junction. Welcome, Andrea.
ANDREA LAND, FRIEND OF PAIGE BIRGFELD: Thank you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Andrea, when was the last time you spoke to your friend or saw her or both?
LAND: I talked to Paige on the day that she disappeared at about 12:40 in the afternoon. She called me to invite me to a Pampered Chef meeting that was going to be happening. And then the last time I actually saw her was two days prior to her disappearance. Several of the moms in our club were at a good-bye dinner for a couple of other members, and she attended that.
VAN SUSTEREN: When she called you at 12:40 on the day she disappeared, June 28, did she say the meeting was that night or was it some future night?
LAND: It was a future night. She was telling me to put it on my calendar for July 16 because I had expressed an interest in signing up as a Pampered Chef consultant.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Did she — how long was that conversation on the 28th?
LAND: It was rather short because I was in the middle of some other conversations, which I now, of course, regret. But she sounded like her normal, bubbly, happy self and was really excited about the meeting.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So you basically — I mean, both of you have children. You're both mothers. So this — your relationship was basically around the children and your friendship? I mean, you don't know anything about this escort service, do you? Or do you?
LAND: No, I really don't know anything about it. I was aware that she had, you know, danced at one point, and it really wasn't something that we pried into. But I'd like to dispel this idea that she was duplicitous and leading a double life because there were some people who did know about it, and if anybody had asked Paige, she would have told them. It just wasn't something that she advertised.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you know about it?
LAND: No, I did not.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you have the kind of friendship where — I mean, did you — I mean, was it more than just a business or club relationship, where you talked about personal life?
LAND: Oh, yes, definitely. I mean, she had talked to me about her rekindling her romance with Howard, who she actually — she married her second husband because Howard didn't want children, according to her. But we talked about a lot of things. And I just never asked, you know? I didn't feel like it was my business to pry into her personal life. I didn't ask her, you know, where she was making her money because it's just not something we talked about.
VAN SUSTEREN: It — I mean, would you agree that that might be a risky lifestyle, running an escort service?
LAND: Well, certainly. I mean, it can be dangerous to do, but so is on-line dating. So is general dating. I think anytime a woman is alone in a situation, she's vulnerable.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did she seem like a risk taker to you? I mean, is this a woman who...
VAN SUSTEREN: Not at all?
LAND: Not at all, actually. She was very, very — she doted on her children. She is the type of person who've involved in everything having to do with school and the kids. She really is not a risk taker. And I think more than likely, she was just doing what she thought she had to do to put food on the table and keep her kids in the home that they had known their whole life.
VAN SUSTEREN: Andrea, thank you.
LAND: Thank you very much, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, we'll keep you, the viewers, updated on developments in the hunt for Paige Birgfeld as we get information on the story.
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