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Women Die in California Limo Fire; Mother Leading Double Life Found Murdered
Aired August 20, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live to California. Nine young nurses set off for a bachelorette party, a night of dinner and dancing. Bombshell tonight. That wedding celebration turns deadly. They end up stuck on the San Mateo Bridge overlooking the San Francisco Bay, their stretch limo bursting into flames, the nurses all trapped behind locked childproof doors, left literally to burn to death.
The limo driver insists he is not at fault, but two of the nurses that did manage to survive claim instead of helping them, he stood by yakking on his cell phone as the nurses screamed for their lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: 911 emergency. What are you reporting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a fire on the San Mateo Bridge. It`s a limousine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) on fire. I just drove by it.
911 OPERATOR: Did you see flames?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I saw flames.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got a car fire westbound 92. It`s a limousine that`s fully engulfed, and I think people are -- I -- there are people trapped inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) -- there`s a party still locked in the vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything happened so fast. I just wish that, you know, there could have had something done more. I don`t -- I don`t...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just get out from the car! (INAUDIBLE) help me, help me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything happened so fast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just passed by a white limo that`s totally on fire on the San Mateo Bridge.
911 OPERATOR: And what are you reporting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A fire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop the car! Stop the car!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Possibly five people trapped inside that burning car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The limo burning up on the freeway with people inside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, live, Grand Junction, a soccer mom raising her three children on her own moonlights to make ends meet. There`s nothing wrong with that, but nobody in her neighborhood ever guesses she had a night job as a hooker. And now the mom of three has been found dead. What happened to Paige Bergfeld (ph)?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After years of searching, finally a break in the disappearance of Paige Bergfeld.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Possible human remains later identified as Paige Bergfeld.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People say, Oh, when you find Paige, you`ll get this closure thing. But trust me, this is a hard day for all of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s led investigators to believe that there was foul play involved.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) of three children, but to me, she`s just my little girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could there finally be answers to what happened to the Grand Junction woman living a double life as a mother and escort for hire?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First you find out Paige is missing (INAUDIBLE) finding out about this other life that we didn`t know about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new surface (ph) that the soccer mom had been doubling as an on-line escort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This case has never been dormant. It`s been worked throughout.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Local authorities will present what they know to a team of cold case experts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where she`s been all this time, how she got there, and who`s to blame.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was not someone who would run off. Paige would have never, ever abandoned her children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That video is from CBS "48 Hours."
Good evening, everyone. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Bombshell tonight. A bachelorette party for nine young nurses turns deadly when their stretch limo limousine goes up in flames while they`re trapped on a bridge. Tonight, the case has been dropped with claims that there was no crime. But two of the nurses that survived say the driver stood by and yakked on his phone instead of even attempting to save them. What is the truth?
Straight out to Vivian Ho (ph), reporter, "San Francisco Chronicle." Vivian, what happened?
VIVIAN HO, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE" (via telephone): Hi, Nancy. Well, basically, it was just what authorities are saying. Authorities are saying that it was a tragic accident and nothing more than that.
GRACE: Before we put the cart before the horse, I think we need to examine what exactly happened. A lot of young nurses lost their life in this fire, and according to reports, the doors were locked with childproof locks. There was no way they could possibly have gotten out.
Now, two of the survivors that managed to claw their way through the partition in the front of the limo -- they say the driver stood by and yakked on the phone instead of trying to help them. The driver said he did help them. Take a listen to what one of the victims says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) saw the smoke at the back of the car, where one of our friends was sitting. Like this one (INAUDIBLE) If you are sitting in between that, there is smoke coming (INAUDIBLE) over here.
All of us probably move to the front, towards the front because the fire came from the back.
(INAUDIBLE) there is a smoke, and then a fire came out (INAUDIBLE) already on fire (INAUDIBLE) stop the car, stop the car! (INAUDIBLE) stopped the car, he get out from the car! He just get out from the car! He get out from the car. He just opened the doors. That`s all he did!
I even ask him, Help me, help me, because (INAUDIBLE) bring out my head from the compartments and help me, so I just squeezed myself over there and slide myself!
(INAUDIBLE) please open the door. Open the door. He didn`t do anything! Then he went back. Jasmine (ph), he (ph) said, I cannot get out, help me. I cannot get out. So I -- he -- I tried to pull her out. I tried to check if I can pull out one more, but it`s already been (ph) dark. I can`t see anything anymore!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Can you imagine what those young nurses went through? They`re going out on a bachelorette party, a night of dinner and dancing together. Instead, it turns deadly, all of these women literally burned to death in the back of the limo.
Now, many say there was no crime, but as you just heard, according to two of the victims that managed to claw their way out through the partition leading up to the driver`s area say nobody helped them at all.
Out to Jean Casarez, legal correspondent. Jean, what happened? What do we know of the facts?
JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, the facts are, first of all, Nancy, the bride perished in all of this, along with others of her friends. The partition was 3 feet, 36 inches, by one-and-a-half feet, and that became the emergency exit.
And the allegation is that they were pounding to try to get the limo driver`s attention, and the radio may have been so loud because, allegedly, he was fighting with his wife on the phone, who he was then separated with, didn`t want the ladies in the back to hear it. So it may have taken him some time to even hear the pounding, and then disregarded it, believing somebody wanted to smoke a cigarette.
GRACE: So as they were yelling, Smoke, smoke, smoke, he thought they wanted to smoke. And is it true, Jean Casarez, he said, No, no, no, no smoking, we`ll be there in three minutes.
CASAREZ: That`s true. And the question is, did he even accurately hear them because the music was so loud and he was on the phone. And that came from the wife that he was separated with, that she heard the music just blaring on that limo as they were driving.
GRACE: Everyone, joining us tonight to tell his side of the story -- and I want to hear his side of the story. We`ve all had to accept in life that sometimes tragedies are accidents and there`s nobody to blame. As much as we look for somebody to blame because it makes us feel better, sometimes there is nobody to blame. Tonight, is there?
With me, speaking on his own behalf, the limo driver, Orville "Ricky" Brown. Also with us, his brother, Lewis (ph) Brown.
To both of you, thank you for being with us. Let me go first to you, Orville "Ricky Brown." Could you tell us what happened that night?
ORVILLE "RICKY BROWN," LIMO DRIVER: Basically, I picked the ladies up in Alameda. The pickup was supposed to be at 8:00 o`clock, and they didn`t actually get into the limo until 9:00.
BROWN: We were riding on...
GRACE: You were supposed to pick them up at 8:00. They got into the car at 9:00. Is that what I just heard?
BROWN: Yes. Exactly.
GRACE: OK. Go ahead.
BROWN: OK. We were riding along San Mateo Bridge and...
GRACE: Sir, do you have a throat problem? Because we can give you some water. Are you OK?
BROWN: We were riding along the San Mateo Bridge, and one of the ladies said -- knocked on the partition and said, Smoke. OK, I looked at the -- at the GPS, and basically, it said four minutes. I told her that. I thought that she was asking if -- you know, basically saying that she wanted to smoke a cigarette. And I basically said to her, Well, we only have four more minutes...
BROWN: ... until we get to the destination. I kept on driving, OK? She knocked again and said, Smoke...
GRACE: Was the music blaring? Was the music blaring, the way your wife said?
BROWN: Their music was on. Their music was on the...
GRACE: Their music was on. OK, not your music.
BROWN: Yes, but the cell phone records were checked. You know, CHP had to check. I gave them authorization to check the cell phone records, and that`s why they basically said there`s no charges.
GRACE: OK, hold on. Hold on. We haven`t even gotten that far yet. I`m still -- the car hasn`t caught on fire yet. So they`re saying, Smoke, smoke. You thought they wanted to smoke a cigarette, and you said, We`ll be there in four minutes.
BROWN: Yes. After that...
GRACE: You didn`t smell the smoke?
BROWN: No. Not at all, OK, until she knocked on it the second time...
GRACE: OK, do you normally -- do you normally keep that partition closed when people are trying to talk to you?
BROWN: They weren`t trying to talk to me, ma`am. This is a private party. You`re supposed to give them their privacy.
GRACE: Oh, OK. See, I thought you just said she knocked on it and she was trying to say, Smoke, smoke.
BROWN: That`s what I said. But you asked me a different question.
GRACE: Right. So she was trying to talk to you.
BROWN: Yes. Of course. When she knocked on it, she was trying to talk to me.
GRACE: All right. OK. Now, is it normal for drivers to keep that partition closed when people are banging on it, trying to talk to them?
BROWN: It`s normal for a driver to keep it closed when they`re having their privacy in the back. But actually, when she knocked on it, of course I had to let it down. But when you`re driving...
GRACE: Oh, you did let it down?
BROWN: Of course I let it down.
GRACE: Well, did you smell smoke when you let it down?
BROWN: Not the first time, no.
GRACE: OK. So then what happened?
BROWN: The first time, like I said, I let it down. She asked me about the -- you know, she asked me about -- she said, Smoke, OK? And I said that, There`s only four minutes left. You know, you can`t smoke in the car. OK, I rolled the thing back up. She knocked on it again. And when I looked back, I could see smoke, at that point, OK?
I pulled over. And as soon as I pulled over, one of the ladies was coming through the partition. I got out. She gets out. She runs...
GRACE: Did you help her?
BROWN: ... back to the back door.
GRACE: Did you help her?
BROWN: No, not the first lady. She was already out of the car, OK?
GRACE: Oh, I thought you said she was coming through the partition and then you got out.
BROWN: When I had pulled over, ma`am, the lady is coming through the partition, OK? I get out. There`s one already coming through the partition. She got out right behind me, OK? Now, there`s two...
GRACE: So you got out while she was coming through the partition?
GRACE: Did you help her?
BROWN: To let her out.
GRACE: Right, did you help her?
BROWN: No, not the first lady. No, OK?
BROWN: Because I didn`t have to. She was already coming through. She didn`t need any help. OK, she was already through (INAUDIBLE)
GRACE: Wait, wait. Wa-wait! Did you just say you didn`t help her because you didn`t have to?
BROWN: I did not have to help the first one through because she was - - by the time I had pulled over, ma`am, she was already through the partition.
GRACE: Yes. Were the child locks on in the back?
BROWN: They automatically go on automatically, just like any other car when you...
GRACE: Well, can`t you turn them out of? I mean, I`ve got child locks, too, but I can cut them off from the driver`s seat.
BROWN: Just regular locks. Not child locks, just regular locks, just like any other lock would come on.
GRACE: Because all the evidence says that child locks were on and were not turned off.
BROWN: OK. Well, that`s up to the company. But as far as the safety locks, regular safety locks, as soon as you pull off, they turn on. You know, they come on just like any other electric lock.
GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. Nine young women nurses go out for a bachelorette party, but the party turns deadly when their limo bursts into flames. Now, many say no crime was committed, that this was a tragic accident.
Tonight, answering the tough questions is the driver of that car, Orville "Ricky" Brown, and with him, his brother Lewis. Gentlemen, again, thank you for being with me.
Mr. Brown, Ricky Brown, I don`t think that I`m stating this correctly. The driver has the ability to unlock the back doors, OK? Did you unlock them before you got out of the car?
BROWN: No. No. Not at that point because the car wasn`t in flames at that point.
GRACE: It was not in flames?
GRACE: OK. Now, I don`t understand that. The car was not in flames, but...
BROWN: The car was not in flames at that point. The car was not in flames at that point. There was just smoke coming out. There was a passerby that had gotten out -- he had stopped and gotten out and ran to the back door, OK, as I`m unlocking it. Once he opened that door, flames shot up maybe two or three stories.
GRACE: So if the car doors had been unlocked before that, maybe the women could have gotten out?
BROWN: Like I said, I don`t know. All I do remember is -- I don`t know. What I do know is that when the guy -- when I unlocked the doors and this passer -- you know, this guy that ran to the back of the car opened the door, flames shot out, like I said, two or three stories high.
GRACE: Now, when the other guy, just a good Samaritan, runs up to the car, had you considered opening the doors and saving the women?
BROWN: He was already there. By the time we stopped and this -- the first lady got out, I was at the door, OK, unlocking the door because he was already there. Once he opened the door, flames were (INAUDIBLE) you know, and he shut it real fast. He shut it just as fast as he opened it.
GRACE: Joining us right now, in addition to Orville "Ricky" Brown answering some very tough questions tonight, Captain Mike Maskarich with the California Highway Patrol. Captain, thank you for being with us.
CAPT. MIKE MASKARICH, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL (via telephone): Thank you.
GRACE: Captain, I`d like to hear your assessment of what happened.
MASKARICH: Well, what we know is on that tragic evening, the vehicle was traveling westbound on the San Mateo Bridge. It passed the toll plaza. Now, for those that aren`t familiar with this bridge, it`s approximately nine miles long. And entering the bridge from the east end or the Hayward Alameda County side, the vehicle passed the toll plaza at about 10:00 o`clock, sometime between the time it passed the toll plaza and approximately 10 minutes later, fire erupted in the rear portion of the limousine. And we determined the cause to be a mechanical failure.
The vehicle came to a stop in the roadway, and at that point, a number of passengers were able to exit the vehicle. Unfortunately, five women were not and perished.
GRACE: Let me ask you a question. There have been claims that the driver delayed calling 911. I know some of the 911 call that we played. It was a female calling 911.
MASKARICH: We know there were a number of 911 calls, first of all, that came into our communications center. And we do know that one of the first calls to come in was from one of the passengers actually inside the limousine. And she called...
GRACE: Did the driver call 911?
MASKARICH: I`m sorry, ma`am?
GRACE: Did the driver ever call 911?
MASKARICH: Yes, he did.
GRACE: Because it`s my understanding that he said he called, but it was busy.
MASKARICH: There were a number of calls, as I said, coming into our communications center, but we do have a record of Mr. Brown`s call actually coming into our dispatch center.
GRACE: To Jean Casarez. Two of the women claim that the driver did not help them in any way, that he stood beside the car talking on a cell phone.
CASAREZ: Yes, that is correct, and those allegations apparently do not amount to a crime. It doesn`t look like any charges will be filed here. But the fact is, the knowledge of what was happening -- this fire was burning from the back. It was a rear suspension fire, and the doors needed to be open. There had to be a way to get these women out.
And there was one more woman than should have been in the back seat. There were nine all together. Only eight were authorized to be there.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, the people are telling me there`s five more people trapped inside.
911 OPERATOR: (INAUDIBLE) fire?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, OK. They`re coming. They`re coming right now. Just stand over here. Stand over here. OK. OK.
911 OPERATOR: OK, we`ve got everybody on the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
911 OPERATOR: (INAUDIBLE) fire that there`s five people inside?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said there`s five people trapped inside, and I`ve got five people sitting here on the side.
911 OPERATOR: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got two other people that just stopped. And the doors are locked. I can`t get inside the car.
911 OPERATOR: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just stay back there. Stay back there!
911 OPERATOR: OK. We`ve updated fire. The unit`s on the way. The fire department`s on the way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
911 OPERATOR: Is there anything else you need me to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don`t think there`s anything we can do. Right now, I`ve got -- traffic is fairly slow, but they -- I mean, we`re on the decline. The rear of the limo is fully engulfed, and the doors...
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GRACE: You are hearing part of the 9/11 call that evening. Nine young nurses trapped in a limo at a bachelorette party. The bride died in the fire. Tonight, answering the tough questions, the driver of that limo. Many people claim he didn`t do enough to save them. He says it all happened so fast, he did what he could.
We are talking your calls. I want to go back to Orville "Ricky" Brown, the limo driver. Many claim that you were, according to your ex- wife, distracted by some argument the two of you were having, and that you didn`t do enough. That you stood by, you didn`t unlock the doors. You didn`t help them out. I want to hear your response to that. You are here answering the tough questions, and I know you have a side to tell and I`d love to hear it. Tell me.
BROWN: Basically, the phone records were checked. There was no call to her at that time. I did what I could do. As far as helping the victims.
Like I said, everything happened so fast. You know, like I said, I did what I could do. I helped two out. There were no other people there. Like I said, the guy tried to open the door. He opened the door. Flames shot up. And after that, just completely engulfed with flames.
GRACE: Mr. Brown, when you say I did what I could do. What did you do?
BROWN: I helped pull two out. Unlock the doors. When the guy, when the (inaudible), when the passenger, the guy that was sitting outside trying to help, when he opened the door, and the flames shot up, nobody else did anything at all. Because we couldn`t do anything.
GRACE: When did you unlock the doors? Because the women couldn`t get out.
BROWN: When the guy opened the door, I had to unlock the door. The guy that had stopped, there was two guys that stopped in front of the limousine. OK. They ran to the back of the limousine. I unlocked the door. He opened it and shut it right back.
GRACE: To Captain Mike Maskarich, California highway patrol, explain to me how those child-proof locks work on that limo.
MASKARICH: There`s actually a latching mechanism that`s inside when you open up the door on the exterior portion that fits into the compartment, and there`s a switch on there that when that switch is activated, what it would do is it would prevent the door from being opened on the inside, but it would certainly be able to be opened from somebody on the outside.
GRACE: So, when he`s saying he unlocked the doors, did he unlock them or did the guy, the good Samaritan, come and just open up the door from the outside?
MASKARICH: I can`t speak specifically to the actions of Mr. Brown. I can speak to when he did our forensic analysis of the door. We did find that the left side door did in fact have a child lock that was activated. The right door was burned beyond our ability to determine if in fact a child lock had been in place or activated on the right side.
GRACE: When you unlock the child locks from the front seat, Captain, it unlocks all of them. So, if one of them was still locked, that means it was never deactivated from the front seat.
MASKARICH: Well, we have video from earlier in the day where we can show that he video or the vehicle had gone through the San Francisco international airport, and on the video it does show that the right side door of the limousine was able to be opened from the inside.
GRACE: OK, yes, you know what, maybe it was opened at some point during the ride, which deactivated that on the right side. That`s a good point, Captain.
I want to go to back to Orville "Ricky" Brown. Mr. Brown, do you think that there was anything more that you could do? And as you reflect back on it, what are your thoughts?
BROWN: I really don`t believe I could have done anything differently. Like I said, it happened so fast, I did exactly what I could do at that time.
GRACE: With us, Orville "Ricky" Brown, giving his side of what happened that evening. Unleash the lawyers. Joining us tonight, Brian Claypool, LA, Renee Rockwell, Atlanta. Both highly regarded defense attorneys. All right, Claypool, weigh in.
BRIAN CLAYPOOL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, news flash, you can`t prosecute Mr. Brown. There`s no crime in California for not trying to rescue somebody when there is a fire. He was not legally obligated to go in there and try to rescue anybody at all. So he did the best he could. He smelled smoke, saw smoke, he pulled over. He unlocked the door. Somebody opened the door. Nancy, sometimes, things happen quickly and it doesn`t mean that there is a crime. There`s no penal code section that`s going -- that the prosecutor can rely on to prosecute Mr. Brown for being morally challenged here.
GRACE: As you said, to quote Brian Claypool, news flash, there`s no good Samaritan rules, criminal rules in the entire country. Based on our jurisprudence, Mr. Claypool, I don`t know if you learned this in law school or not, but there is no criminal duty upon anyone to be a good Samaritan and save anyone. You cannot be prosecuted for an omission.
Now, if you take on a civil duty to act, such as a lifeguard agreeing to watch over a swimming pool, that person has taken on that duty. They could be sued civilly if they don`t act. Renee, in this case, what do you think?
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think, Nancy, as a defense attorney, you`re just trying to keep your clients out of jail, not out of hell. Sorry he didn`t do any more than he did, but that`s absolutely correct. He had no duty to do anything, Nancy, but to -- let`s say for example, he started the fire. Had he started the fire, he would have had to have pulled them out to save them, but because he did not start the fire, I see a civil lawsuit, I see the insurance company poning up dearly, but I think he walks on this.
GRACE: You know, to both of you defense attorneys, I hear what you`re saying. And I know that the law is on your side. To Dr. Patricia Saunders, clinical psychologist, Patricia, weigh in.
DR. PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, aside from moral duty, I think there`s the whole question of criminal negligence for the limousine owner. This was described as an unusual catastrophic failure. Where is the quality control? How often do they check on this? That`s what caused the fire. And I think whether it`s a civil or a criminal lawsuit, that there has to be sufficient investigation into that.
GRACE: Right. As of tonight, there is no criminal action, and apparently, the investigation is closed.
Our family album is back, showing real family photos tonight. The Eddars from Arizona. Mom, Rachel, daughters Kelly, Christina, Kaitlin, celebrating her criminal justice degree. They also love feeding the ducks together. Share your photos on hlntv.com/nancygrace and click on Nancy`s family album.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally, a break in the disappearance of Paige Birgfeld. Bones found by a hiker in delta (ph) linked to the missing woman through dental records.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody realizes that this is (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said you`re in the midst of a crime. This is not someone who`d run off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gruesome discovery in the Delta County desert just off highway 50 is now leading to new questions. News surfaced that the soccer mom has been doubling as an online escort.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Didn`t even cross their minds, because it`s their daughter. You don`t think your daughter`s going to do that. So I think for them, it was a really, really big shock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That is from CBS "48 Hours." A single mom supporting her three children on her own, moonlights. Nobody in her neighborhood suspected it was as a hooker. Not just a hooker, she ran an escort service as the madam. Be that as it may, she is still by all accounts was a devoted mother, who would never have left her children, ever. In fact, many argue that she had the job to support them. But now, she has been found dead. Out to Nia Bender, joining me from TTN. What happened?
NIA BENDER, TTN: Well, apparently, you know, this happened back in 2007. And Paige was driving back from Grand Junction to Eagle, which is in the high country here in Colorado. When apparently, that was the last time that she was seen. Her car was found the next day on fire in a parking lot at an industrial park. That was back on June 28th of 2007.
GRACE: Out to Clark Goldband. Clark, no one in her neighborhood, her own family had no idea that she was moonlighting. Not just as a hooker, but as a madam, running an escort service. Basically online.
GOLDBAND: Not at all.
GRACE: I want to show (ph) the facts. When I say what happened, I mean tell me the facts. Start at the beginning. A to Z.
GOLDBAND: Sure, Nancy. This 34-year-old mom, she`s out with her first ex-husband. They`re apparently rekindling their relationship. She talks to him on the phone after they leave. They meet at a mutual place, and she says I`m going home, but she doesn`t return. It`s a day and a half later when the kids` nanny -- this mom lives in a $1 million home, Nancy, she did very well. And they were weary their mom didn`t return. Law enforcement is called. They find her 2005 Ford Focus on fire in a parking lot the next day.
GRACE: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. New York control, take me back to that house, please. She must have had a thriving business. Did you see the house?
GOLDBAND: Nancy, I sure have, and I`ll tell you what, she sold chef supplies and cooking supplies for people who threw these kind of home parties. She sold equipment for kids, child safety stuff, baby stuff. She was very successful. She also owned an acupuncture type store front.
GRACE: When you say store front? Why did you say store front?
GOLDBAND: Well, according to the reports at the time, this apparently was where some of the neighbors and tenants said they saw some shady characters come in and out of that facility. Some men wearing suits, while some wearing cowboy type outfits.
GRACE: OK, yeah, I don`t know what`s wrong with a cowboy outfit, but I think what you`re trying to say is that`s where you think the prostitution was going down?
GOLDBAND: Well, that`s what some articles do suggest, Nancy.
GRACE: So, that`s what you`re trying to get out there. You know what? I don`t care where she worked, I don`t care what she did. She`s the mother of three, and she loves her children, and she`s dead. How did we find out about her death, Michael Board, WOAI? What do we know?
MICHAEL BOARD, WOAI: Buried in a very shallow grave in a rural area outside of Grand Junction by whoever killed her that evening. And over time, thanks to drought, thanks to the weather, those bones, the ground that covered her eventually eroded. A couple of hikers found those bones. Police were called out and investigators was -- they also found some of her clothing out in that area. An autopsy was done on the bones that were found. They were inconclusive about the cause of death in this case. All we know is police are categorizing it as a homicide.
GRACE: Michael, are you telling me that her clothes were found in another place than her remains?
BOARD: It was in the same general area out in this very rural area.
GRACE: Michael, Michael?
GRACE: Your clothes are not supposed to be in a general area. They`re supposed to be on you. OK. So where were her clothes?
BOARD: They were not on her, but frankly, Nancy, not much was on her. All they found were her bones.
GRACE: Michael Board, so they don`t have a cause of death. You`re saying that hikers found her remains?
BOARD: Yes. A pair of hikers were out there, apparently the soil that had covered her in the shallow grave had eroded. They found the bones. Those hikers, thank God they called police, or this case maybe we wouldn`t be even where we are today with this case.
GRACE: Joining me right now, everyone, is a special guest, Paige`s father. Frank Birgfeld is with us. Mr. Birgfeld, thank you for being with us.
FRANK BIRGFELD, FATHER: Thank you.
GRACE: You know -- your daughter--
BIRGFELD: She by the way was born in Atlanta.
GRACE: Your daughter is not only beautiful, but she has a lot of business acumen, and I`m basing that on her day job. She was very successful in her business. I want to hear your thoughts on what you think may have happened.
BIRGFELD: Well, the investigation seems to point towards this adult business activity. I`m not sure that I can say that`s accurate or not, but that seems to be where the direction has gone.
GRACE: Do you believe, Mr. Birgfeld, that she was murdered because of her double life?
BIRGFELD: I don`t know what I would say because of, but maybe in connection with.
GRACE: What happened to Paige Birgfeld? She is a single mom supporting her children and doing a very good job of it. A mother of three. Beautiful home. Brilliant business acumen. Here`s the problem. She had a double life. She was also running an escort business as a side job.
Take a look at her home. She worked day and literally night, and that pun is not intended, to support her family. And she was making it, but then she disappears. Her body found by hikers. Her skeletal remains. And with me, her father, speaking on her behalf.
Frank Birgfeld, tell me about the children. Who has them?
BIRGFELD: They are with their natural father.
GRACE: Do you believe that the killer is someone that she knew or someone that was involved in her business, in her business as a hooker?
BIRGFELD: Well -- first of all, I don`t know that I would characterize it as a hooker. But that aside, I just don`t know, Nancy. I don`t know whether she knew the people or not.
GRACE: Can I ask you, Mr. Birgfeld, do you believe she ran the business and did not prostitute herself? Is that what you`re saying?
BIRGFELD: I don`t know.
GRACE: You don`t know. OK.
BIRGFELD: I just really don`t know anything about that side of things. I mean, as I look back and once I got into her financial affairs, it was pretty easy to see it would have been difficult to make her way financially with selling pampered chef and having a dance school circuit. But at the time, we didn`t know what her situation was.
GRACE: Mr. Birgfeld, you know what? I don`t care what she did during the day or the night. It doesn`t matter to me. What matters to me is that someone murdered her.
BIRGFELD: One of the people that interviewed me on the national circuit asked me what I would say to her if she walked in the door, and I think the inference was that I would have some sort of lecture on this second life. And my response was if she walked in the door right now, all I`d do is hug her.
GRACE: Everyone, Labor Day coming up. We celebrate a very special group of workers, working moms. Are you a working mom? Do you know one who deserves recognition for hard work at home and at work? I want to hear from you. Send us a video explaining why you or your loved one is the best working mom in America. Five videos with the most votes win my signature handcuff necklace, earrings, t-shirts, the works. Details, go to nancygrace.com. After you go to the website, send in those videos.
Tonight, we remember American hero, Army Corporal William Middleton, 26, Norfolk, Virginia. Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal. Parents, Hank and Marlene. Stepmother Diane. Brother Zachary. William Middleton. American hero.
With me tonight, Paige`s father, Frank Birgfeld. When he was asked what he would say if his daughter came through the door right now, he said I would just hug her.
To Brent Brown, CEO Chelsea Brown Companies, former cop. Brent, where do you go in an investigation like this?
BRENT BROWN, CEO, CHELSEA BROWN COMPANIES: Well, it`s difficult, Nancy. Because you have basically a parallel life. You go the traditional route of piecing things back together, but when you have this other life, you`ve got to go back and see where that leads. And I think once--
GRACE: And that`s going to be hard. Brent, you`re right. To Dr. Michelle Dupre, medical examiner out of Columbia, what can they learn from her remains?
DR. MICHELLE DUPRE, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Nancy, it`s going to be very difficult when all you have is skeletal remains. If there are no injuries on the bone, then the injuries that occurred in her homicide would be on the soft tissue, and of course that is gone. So we will look at the circumstances surrounding that. And that`s why it was classified as a homicide.
GRACE: Everyone, there is a tipline. 970-241-7867.
Tonight, happy birthday to Atlanta defense lawyer Peter Odom.
And happy birthday to Minnesota friend Kathy. Works with charities and with disabled adults. Happy birthday. Dr. Drew up next. Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.