GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado — A suspect in the 2007 death of a Grand Junction woman found and removed a tracking device that officers had placed on his car during their seven-year investigation, his former attorney said.
Lester Ralph Jones, 63, arranged to return the device to investigators, who eventually arrested him on suspicion of murder, kidnapping and arson in the death of Paige Birgfeld, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Sunday (http://tinyurl.com/lsau85x).
Birgfeld, a mother of three who had a double life as an escort, disappeared in 2007, when she was 34. Her skeletal remains were found in 2012 in a dry creek bed in a neighboring county. Authorities haven't determined the cause of death.
Investigators kept the case open, and Jones was arrested Nov. 21. Authorities allege he killed Birgfeld, dumped her body and torched her car.
He has not entered a plea.
Court records indicate the episode involving the GPS device probably occurred in the autumn of 2008.
An arrest warrant affidavit said investigators obtained a court order to place the device on Jones' car but that it didn't produce any significant leads.
Jones and his brother found the device, said Colleen Scissors, Jones' former attorney.
"It seems likely they had a warrant (to track his vehicle), but that didn't stop us from taking it out and returning it," Scissors said.
She said the device was given to a third party, who gave it to investigators.
It was not immediately clear why Scissors no longer represents Jones.
Jones appeared at a Nov. 24 court hearing via video feed from the Mesa County jail. He said nothing other than acknowledging that he had watched a video advising him of his legal rights.
Information from: The Daily Sentinel, http://www.gjsentinel.com
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