Paige Birgfeld: Divers, Sonar Boat Search River For Missing Woman


Aug 9, 2007 9:30 am US/Mountain

In searching to find the lastest update on Paige Birgfeld since my last post of July 20th this one of August 9th is the most recent one I could find.  Obviously they are having a hard time as to not having much luck with their investigation as to any info they find leading any where. 

(AP) GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Dive teams and a sonar-equipped boat have searched the Gunnison River for a 34-year-old woman who has not been seen in more than a month.

Crews searched about 15 miles of the river on Wednesday in hopes of finding clues in the disappearance of Paige Birgfeld, who was last seen June 28.

Investigators and volunteers have found Birgfeld’s burned-out car and an unloaded handgun not far from the vehicle. They also recovered some of her personal items but declined to identify them.

Friends and family have described the twice-divorced Birgfeld as a devoted mother who sold kitchen products and held other jobs to support her three children. Authorities said Birgfeld also had an escort service, a discovery that surprised many who knew her.

On Saturday, search dogs released near where the car was found led investigators to a nearby RV dealership where a “person of interest” Lester Ralph Jones (foxnews) in the case is employed.

Investigators have not said what the dogs found, if anything.


September 27, 2007

“I think that (Scott Stebic’s arrest) definitely was an attempt for them to continue to put pressure on Craig,” said Stebic’s attorney Dion Davi. “It’s evident that the Plainfield police are at a point of desperation, given their arrest of Scott and the current (police department) administrative shakeup that occurred.”

Police Chief Don Bennett said he believes investigators re-interviewed Scott Stebic about his brother and missing sister-in-law while the man was detained in Plainfield after his arrest.

“There’s no question that the Plainfield Police Department takes very seriously the disappearance of Lisa Stebic,” Bennett said. “We are utilizing all avenues to find her. If that involves re-interviewing Craig Stebic’s brother, then we certainly will do that, and have done that, and will continue to focus on this case and the person responsible for it.” 

Felony charges
Steve Scheller, the Lake County state’s attorney’s chief of felony review, said he had no idea the Plainfield police were going after Scott Stebic. Warrants for Scott Stebic’s arrest came out of Lake County”No, I had no idea,” Scheller said. Scheller also was not familiar with the Lisa Stebic case.

He said the felonies facing Scott Stebic were for deceptive practices and driving under the influence.

The deceptive practices charge stemmed from Scott Stebic allegedly bouncing five checks totaling $312.37 in five days in July at a Highland Park White Hen.

Scott Stebic was arrested for driving under the influence Aug. 19, 2006, in Bannockburn. The same day as his drunken driving arrest, Stebic was picked up in Highland Park on a misdemeanor charge of trespass to a vehicle. The charge resulted from Stebic slipping into a tow truck and snatching the keys, said police Cmdr. Dave Schwarz.

Scheller could not say if it was connected to the DUI charge.

Scott Stebic resided in Lake County prior to moving in with his brother at his heavily scrutinized Red Star Drive home in Plainfield. Scheller did know what prompted Scott Stebic to head south, but did not believe Craig’s embattled brother was hiding out or on the run. 

Officer resigns
Last week rumors swirled that two of Plainfield’s top cops were off the force as Bennett declined to discuss the job status of Deputy Chief Mark Eiting and Patrol Cmdr. Mike Altenhoff.Altenhoff, one of the lead investigators on the Stebic case, officially resigned from the force Monday.

He said his decision was personal, to pursue a new career opportunity, and not related to the Stebic investigation.

“I wouldn’t have left if I thought for one moment the Stebic case would be in jeopardy,” Altenhoff said Wednesday. “The Plainfield investigators are the best; their hearts are in it, and I see good things happening.”

Altenhoff joined the department in 1996 as a patrol officer and moved up the ranks to detective, sergeant and finally patrol commander.

He said the Plainfield department was a good place to learn and “immensely helped my career path.”

“Mike certainly did good work for the department and had been involved in a lot over a span of time,” Bennett said. “We’re going to miss him and wish him well in his new endeavor.”

Deputy Chief Mark Eiting had not resigned from his job as of Wednesday, but sources close to the department say he has not been on the job. Bennett declined to comment on Eiting’s job status. Eiting has not been available for comment. 

Moving forward
The Stebic investigation moved a step forward Wednesday, as police met with Will County prosecutors to review the case.Bennett said the state’s attorney’s office will contact police with a suggested next move.

Authorities want to interview the Stebic children, ages 11 and 12, about their mother’s disappearance. Aside from a preliminary interview, Craig Stebic has blocked police from talking to the kids per the advice of Davi, his lawyer.

In July, police named Craig Stebic a “person of interest” in his wife’s disappearance. Stebic has not been charged in connection with the case.

Davi said, despite reports of a possible grand jury investigation and subpoenas for the Stebic children, he has not received anything from the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Jury Finds Polygamous-Sect Leader Warren Jeffs Guilty on Sex Charges

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ST. GEORGE, Utah —  A jury found polygamous-sect leader Warren Jeffs guilty Tuesday of being an accomplice to rape for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl to her 19-year-old cousin.Jeffs, the president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since 2002, faced two counts of rape by accomplice in connection to the arranged marriage at a Caliente, Nev., motel room in 2001.

Jeffs, 51, wearing a suit with a blue striped tie, looked straight ahead with little reaction when the verdict was read.

The now 21-year-old woman testified during the trial that the couple were married for at least a month before they had intercourse, her husband telling her it was “time for you to be a wife and do your duty.”

“My entire body was shaking. I was so scared,” she testified. “He just laid me on the bed and had sex.”

Jeffs previously on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, is viewed by followers as a prophet who talks to God while ex-church members say he demands perfect obedience. Jeffs could get life in prison.

Authorities captured Jeffs in a 2006 traffic stop outside Las Vegas after he was on the run for 18 months.

The verdict was postponed earlier on Tuesday when Fifth District Judge James Shumate replaced a female juror with an alternate juror who had also watched the trial.

The jury deliberated about 16 hours over three days.

Jeffs succeeded his father in 2002 as president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Former members say he rules with an iron fist, demanding perfect obedience from followers and exercising the right to arrange marriages as well as break them up and assign new spouses.

The church has a large complex near the West Texas town of Eldorado, about 40 miles south of San Angelo.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Vick indicted by state grand jury in dogfighting case

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SUSSEX, Va.  — A Virginia grand jury indicted suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick on state dogfighting charges Tuesday, prosecutors announced

The grand jury brought two charges against Vick: one count of killing dogs and one of promoting dogfights. In a plea agreement on federal charges, the quarterback has admitted to bankrolling a dogfighting operation from his home in Surry County, Virginia.

Arraignment for Vick is scheduled for October 3.

Vick and three associates — Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach; Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton, Virginia — had pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the dogfighting venture and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Surry County Commonwealth Attorney Gerald Poindexter said earlier he would present more than 10 state bills of indictment against Vick and his co-defendants.

Vick, 27, faces a possible prison term of 12 to 18 months after his August guilty plea to a federal conspiracy charge related to the dogfighting ring. After the plea, the National Football League suspended him indefinitely without pay.

He faces sentencing on December 10 in U.S. District Court in Richmond on the federal charges. Read about federal case against Vick »

Poindexter defended his decision to bring more charges against the four because the federal case didn’t address crimes committed in Surry County.

“Crime was committed here. How do you ignore it?” Poindexter said to reporters outside the grand jury courtroom. “Not piling on anybody, just looking out for Surry County.”

The grand jury is composed of six people, two black males, two black females and two white females.


Mime legend Marcel Marceau dies

Sun September 23, 2007

Story Highlights

  • Marcel Marceau has died at the age of 84, French media report
  • Marceau revived art of mime; performed for more than 50 years
  • French Jew survived Holocaust; worked with Resistance to save Jewish children
  • PARIS, France (AP) — Marcel Marceau, who revived the art of mime and brought poetry to silence, has died, his former assistant said Sunday. He was 84. Marceau died Saturday in Paris, French media reported. Former assistant Emmanuel Vacca announced the death on France-Info radio, but gave no details about the cause.Wearing white face paint, soft shoes and a battered hat topped with a red flower, Marceau, notably through his famed personnage Bip, played the entire range of human emotions onstage for more than 50 years, never uttering a word. Offstage, however, he was famously chatty. “Never get a mime talking. He won’t stop,” he once said.

    A French Jew, Marceau survived the Holocaust — and also worked with the French Resistance to protect Jewish children.

    His biggest inspiration was Charlie Chaplin. Marceau, in turn, inspired countless young performers — Michael Jackson borrowed his famous “moonwalk” from a Marceau sketch, “Walking Against the Wind.”

    Marceau performed tirelessly around the world until late in life, never losing his agility, never going out of style. In one of his most poignant and philosophical acts, “Youth, Maturity, Old Age, Death,” he wordlessly showed the passing of an entire life in just minutes.

    “Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?” he once said.

    Prime Minister Francois Fillon praised Marceau as “the master,” saying he had the rare gift of “being able to communicate with each and everyone beyond the barriers of language.”

    Marceau was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg, France. His father Charles, a butcher who sang baritone, introduced his son to the world of music and theater at an early age. The boy adored the silent film stars of the era: Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and he also was a fan of the Marx brothers.

    When the Germans marched into eastern France, he and his family were given just hours to pack their bags. He fled to southwest France and changed his last name to Marceau to hide his Jewish origins.   [Full Story]

    Christy Freeman-Mom cleared in dead fetuses case may sue

    By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press Writer
    Thu Sep 20, 4:57 PM ET 

    SNOW HILL, Md. – A woman once accused of killing her newborn child and keeping three older sets of fetal remains at her home threatened to sue county authorities Thursday, saying they rushed to judgment after the remains were found.

    Authorities dropped the charges against Christy Freeman, 37, on Wednesday after they determined there was not enough evidence to prosecute her.

    Freeman and her longtime boyfriend, Ray Godman, spoke briefly to reporters on Thursday and thanked those who supported them. In a statement, the couple said that the deaths of the babies were miscarriages and that authorities should have waited for medical reports before charging her.

    “If an investigation had been done Miss Freeman would have never been charged with anything,” the statement read. “When it’s all said and done, the reality of this situation is Miss Freeman had four miscarriages over a period of five years.”

    It also said the couple’s business, a classic car taxi service, had suffered damage because of media attention surrounding the case and it could have been avoided if investigators hadn’t “rushed to judgment.”

    Freeman had been held in jail without bond since July, when she went to a hospital with heavy bleeding and doctors discovered she had recently given birth. Investigators found the dead baby — and three more sets of tiny human remains — at Freeman’s house in Ocean City.

    Freeman was originally charged with killing her fetus in July, but those charges were later dropped after an autopsy showed that fetus was stillborn.

    Prosecutors later charged her with killing one of two babies found in a trunk in the living room. The charge accused her of giving birth to twins on the toilet in 2004 and allowing one of them to die. That was the charge dismissed Wednesday.

    A report from state medical examiner Dr. Tasha Greenberg concluded there was no proof the babies were ever alive, said Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd. Some of the remains were years old. In a murder case, prosecutors must prove the victim of the homicide had been alive, he said.

    Todd said the medical examiner concluded that because Freeman had a history of stillborn births, because there was an infection present in the placenta of the most recent fetus, and because Freeman was a tobacco user and may have used cocaine, the deaths could have occurred naturally.

    Asked whether women who miscarry are required by law to dispose properly of the remains, Todd replied, “There should be,” but he said he knew of no such crime.

    Todd insisted he had no regrets about pursuing murder charges before getting the full medical examiner’s report. “Nothing was done wrong here,” he said.

    Ocean City police spokesman Barry Neeb said the officers performed a professional and ethical investigation, and nothing would have been differently.

    “Sometimes investigations aren’t pretty. Sometimes they involve things like digging up a yard or damaging walls in a house, but this situation warranted it,” Neeb said.

    Godman called the case an “ordeal.” The couple did not answer reporters’ questions about why the remains were kept at the house or whether she had used cocaine.

    “We’re just going to get on with our lives and try to get our business up and running and get on with our lives,” Godman said.

    Wife who shot preacher calls sentence too short

    Latest update 

    (CNN) — The parents of a Tennessee preacher shot to death by his wife convinced a judge to keep the convicted killer at home, but they couldn’t keep her off the air.

    Seven months in custody wasn’t a long enough sentence for what she did, Mary Winkler said Wednesday in an exclusive, pre-recorded interview with Oprah Winfrey.

    “There’s no amount of time I think you can put on something like this. I was just ready for them to lock the door and throw away the key,” she told Winfrey.

    Winkler had sought permission to travel to Chicago, Illinois, to appear live on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” but the judge who presided over her trial would not give her permission to travel.

    Her in-laws, who are suing Winkler for wrongful death and are seeking to revoke her parental rights, also fought the television appearance.

    Video Watch Winkler’s interview with Oprah »

    Winkler was convicted earlier this year of the shotgun slaying of her husband, Matthew, at the time the minister of the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, Tennessee.

    She told Winfrey that she killed her husband following years of abuse, including physical violence and being forced to dress “slutty” for undesirable sex acts. All she remembers, she said, is the “boom” as the shotgun went off.

    Winkler’s account on the show was virtually identical to her testimony during her trial earlier this year. A jury of 10 women and one man found her guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Prosecutors had been pushing for a first-degree murder conviction.

    She was released last month from a Tennessee mental heath facility.

    Winfrey said on the show that Matthew Winkler’s parents did not respond to requests for an interview. Dan and Diane Winkler, who have filed a $2 million wrongful-death suit against Mary Winkler, are pitched in a bitter custody battle over the couple’s three daughters. 

    For the full story [ click here ]

    Luciano Pavarotti Dies at Age 71, Manager Says

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Farewell to an Opera Legend                                                                            

    ROME — Luciano Pavarotti, whose vibrant high C’s and ebullient showmanship made him one of the world’s most beloved tenors, died
    Thursday, his manager told The Associated Press. He was 71.

    His manager, Terri Robson, told the AP in an e-mailed statement that Pavarotti died at his home in Modena, Italy, at 5 a.m. local time. Pavarotti had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and underwent further treatment in August.

    “The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness,” the statement said.

    For serious fans, the unforced beauty and thrilling urgency of Pavarotti’s voice made him the ideal interpreter of the Italian lyric repertory, especially in the 1960s and ’70s when he first achieved stardom. For millions more, his charismatic performances of standards like “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot” came to represent what opera is all about.

    Instantly recognizable from his charcoal black beard and tuxedo-busting girth, Pavarotti radiated an intangible magic that helped him win hearts in a way Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras — his partners in the “Three Tenors” concerts — never quite could.

                                              [Full Story ]    Farewell to an Opera Legend 

    Katie Couric: Is she being given a fair chance?

    As I was watching Fox News the other afternoon I forget which segment it was but they brought up the fact that Katie Couric would be reporting from Baghdad next week and you would have thought all hell was going to break lose. They were saying how could she even thing of going over there, putting her life on the line when she has 2 young daughters to think of. That her career and the ratings for CBS meant more to her than her family knowing that several journalists had already lost their life

    As I sat there listening I couldn’t help thinking none of these issues factored in when any of the male journalists went over or were sent over as part of their job and some of these men were/are husbands, fathers who had to leave their families behind but no one criticized their judgment or morals.

    There seems to be separate standards for men and women who make it a tough world. In keeping with the topic of journalism, if a male journalist makes it to the top and lands the job as head anchor with a TV station he is considered a hard worker, one who has given time, energy and gone from runner, local reporter, state reporter, national reporter, part time weekend anchor to head anchor.

    Now as we look at the other side of the picture there seems to be a different theory when it comes to female journalists. It seems that when a female journalist makes it to the top there is no mention of how they began as a journalist, considered a hard worker and worked their way from local, state and national reporter, part time weekend anchor to top anchor. On the contrary it seems the only justification for the female journalist who makes it to the top is not credited to her abilities but is credited to the number of bosses she slept with.  A good example is a book written by Edward Klein called “Katie: The Real Story”.  This book by Klein is an unauthorized bio and if you click on the link you will find an interesting interview between Klein and Fox’s “The Big Story” host Gregg Jarrett.  In my opinion I think the interview shows Klein to be very much a sexist.

    As for Katie Couric and CBS why was it wrong for her to make the change? Isn’t it, at least I would think it would be, every journalist’s dream to become head anchor of one of the biggest TV stations. Those opportunities don’t come along that often especially for a female and if you don’t seize the opportunity you may never have the chance again.  Couric was offered the opportunity and there was no reason not to take it.  Frankly I think she would have been a fool to not accept it. 

    For some reason it seems like everyone except CBS was not ready to give Couric that chance feeling that even though she had been with the “Today” show for 15 years she should stay there forever and not try and advance when she had the opportunity, an opportunity that any journalist would more than jump at the chance to have. 

    I wonder how many of us ended up with certain jobs that we would not have if we had not been given a chance or someone hadn’t taken a chance on us.

    I can’t imagine going solo as an anchor being an easy transition after co-anchoring for all those years.  The responsibility that goes with that position is definitely greater than what she was used to but she was willing to take on the challenge, accept the responsibility to work hard at trying to become one of the best female anchors for CBS or any place.  I think this has opened the door for other young femal journalists who have their sights set on top positions in journalism. 

    I can’t help but think that there has to be someone behind all the initial critiquing and to me that person would be Dan Rather but that is just my own opinion.  I know Rather was know at CBS as “the Don” and it is my feeling that he enjoys causing any controversy he can when it comes to CBS and him handing in his resignation whether by his own decision or one that was made for him. 

    There you have it, I don’t think she has been given a fair chance and has been unfairly judged so early on.     [ The interview ]

    Stebic Children To Go Before Grand Jury?

    Friday, 31 August 2007 4:01PM
     Plainfield, IL

    (WBBM) Police looking into the disappearance of a Plainfield woman may be moving toward bringing her children before an investigative panel.

    Lisa Stebic disappeared four months ago, on April 30.

    Now, Plainfield police apparently are discussing with the State’s Attorney’s office whether they’ll have to move to bring Lisa’s children before a grand jury.   [ Full Story ]