Monday, August 27, 2012

THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S SECRET

  The Costilla County Sheriff's office is the lead investigating agency in the disappearance of Jack Gordon.  Costilla County falls within the 12th Judicial District of Colorado. The District Attorney for the 12th District is David Mahonee.  Mahonee, a Democrat, replaced his former boss, Republican incumbent Peter Comar as DA in 2010.  Although term-limited in 2010, Comar is back in the race for the DA position this time around.
  The Valley Courier has published a recent article entitled "Prosecutor was once prosecuted", discussing some previously unknown aspects of Mr. Mahonee's past, including an auto theft conviction at age 21 that was pleaded down to a misdemeanor, subsequent sealing of those court records and the fact that Mahonee changed his last name from Huey to Mahonee at age 33 for reasons that he did not want to discuss:
"Huey, who was 21 at the time, was charged with auto theft, a felony that was ultimately reduced to misdemeanor unauthorized use of a vehicle. Mahonee, who changed his name from Huey in 1983, successfully requested that the 1971 record of his conviction be expunged last year."
  Mahonee maintains that his youthful indiscretions have no bearing on his performance as DA.  That may or may not be the case.  The fact remains that despite the circumstances of the simultaneous disappearance of Jack Gordon and John Robert Fureigh on October 2, 2008, despite the statement of former Costilla County Sheriff Gilbert Martinez about seeing a suspicious dark stain on the driveway of Fureigh's house on Luke Road, despite the statements of multiple neighbors that Fureigh was probably involved in Jack's disappearance, despite Fureigh's previous felony offenses...despite all of this Mr. Mahonee has repeatedly declined to issue a search warrant for the property of John Fureigh on Luke Road in Costilla County.
  Implying that youth is a valid excuse for criminal behavior, Mahonee is quoted in the Valley Courier article:
"It was a long time ago. I was young. I wasn’t a lawyer at the time. I hadn’t even been to college."
  Mr. Comar wondered if Mahonee could be an efffective DA, given this record, saying:
“Nevertheless do you want your DA to have any conviction under those circumstances? How is he to say to those before him accused of a felony that a misdemeanor is not available to them even though they may have made a mistake in their lives and want nothing more than the deference given to him? What can he say to those wanting to seal their records as he has availed himself of the process?"

  The Valley Courier added this insightful comment by Mr. Mahonee:

"[Mahonee]said he is the “poster child” for second chances and rehabilitation."

  John Fureigh might cheer this sentiment. Jack Gordon however, didn't get his second chance.

Friday, August 24, 2012

OUTDOOR NECESSITIES

     I was browsing through a large tool catalog (NorthernTool.com) today.  While flipping idly through the pages I ran across this item, actually for sale, categorized under "Trailers and Towing".  Now I have seen trailer hitch mount carriers for bicycles, motorcycles, wheelchairs, snow plows and all manner of clever uses.  And I have used all kinds of outdoor equipment while camping. This innovative item though, takes the prize for "Best Fusion of Camping Amenity and Trailer Hitch Apparatus". 

INTRODUCING: THE OFF ROAD COMMODE

I was curious about the "VIDEO ONLINE" button, so I checked it out and I think you should too (the video does not auto-start at the link- you'll have to click to play).

I can't decide which line I like best:
  1. Supports up to 500 lbs.
  2. Can get slippery when wet.
  3. Not for use when vehicle is in motion
Have a Seamus Day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

COLORADO MISSING PERSON- PAIGE BIRGFELD- 2007

     A week before the Fourth of July in 2007, Paige Birgfeld, a 34-year-old mother of three was reported missing from Grand Junction, CO.  The story garnered local and regional headlines throughout that summer and early fall.  Early evidence pointed toward possible fould play.  Her car was found torched in a local parking lot.  As reported in the Denver Post (Read more: Woman's disappearance baffles family, police) in 2007:

Sunday night, her red Ford Focus was found burning in an empty parking lot about 3 miles from her house.


Frank Birgfeld, who lives in Centennial, said the fire appeared to have been started inside the car, as if to destroy evidence.

"I can tell you that (police) never considered this a missing persons matter," Birgfeld said. "They were actively investigating this as much more."


Within a week, as the investigation unfolded it became evident that Ms. Birgfeld was not just a suburban "soccer mom". Again in the Denver Post (Read more: Secret life surprises kin, pals of missing woman) it was reported:  
Birgfeld's involvement with the escort service was a surprise to friends and family last week.


The list of possible suspects expanded from two ex-husbands to include a number of former clients of Birgfeld in her escort business.  By October 2007 a suspect had been named, but Birgfeld still was missing. Denver Post- (Suspect named in missing mom case).  In spite of extensive general and targeted searches over many months, no body was found in or around Grand Junction.  That changed in early 2012, when a hiker stumbled upon a human skeleton in a dry creek bed near Delta. The Denver Post continued the story (Read more: Remains of missing Mesa County mother Paige Birgfeld found in Delta County)
A hiker found skeletal remains of a woman at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday off U.S. Highway 50 in the Wells Gulch area in Delta County, about 30 miles southeast of Grand Junction and about 15 miles west of Delta.


To date, a final cause of death has not been determined and there has not been an arrest, but we who search for answers regarding Jack Gordon have learned a couple of important lessons from Paige Birgfeld's case. 
  1. Patience, persistence and time can be rewarded. 
  2. The desert will often cough up its secrets.

Rest in Peace
Paige Birgfeld
(April 27, 1973 - June 2007)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

IRISH TALES

Jack Gordon loved Irish folklore and tales. Here is one that he would have liked- paraphrased from "Tales of the Wicklow Hills" by Richard Marsh:

A Jew, a Hindu and an Irishman were hiking somewhere in Europe. Night fell and they were at risk of being without shelter. They knocked at the door of a nearby farmhouse and asked the farmer for shelter for the night.
"Sure, you're welcome to spend the night, but we only have two spare beds in the house, one of you will have to sleep in the barn."
   The Jew said, "No problem, I'll sleep in the barn." and off he went. A short time later there was a knock on the farmhouse door. It was the Jew, who said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but there's a pig in the barn and being Jewish, pig meat is forbidden..."
   The Hindu said, "No problem, I'll sleep in the barn."  The household settled down to sleep again, but there came another knock on the door. It was the Hindu, saying, "I'm sorry to bother everybody, but there is a cow in the barn, and as cows are sacred in our culture..."
   The Irishman said, "No problem, I'll go sleep in the barn."  Shortly after everybody had settled down again there came yet another knock on the door.
   It was the pig and the cow.

Monday, August 13, 2012

RECAP AND SUMMATION

So, let's have a brief recap of the mysterious case of Jack Gordon's disappearance. To restate the basic known facts:
          1. Elderly gentleman disappears without a trace from a remote rural property in Southern Colorado in October 2008.
          2. Mr. Gordon is reported missing by his wife, and subsequent search turns up no physical evidence on his property or the surrounding countryside.
          3. In the years since then there has been no subsequent trace of activity on any of his financial accounts or any other indication that he is alive.
          4. A second person disappears on the same day from his residence on the same remote road.
          5. The second man is NOT reported missing by his relatives, who tell authorities he "left the state".
          6. The second man is found to be a felony sex offender who absconded and failed to register as a sex offender when he moved to the San Luis Valley from El Paso County, in violation of the terms of his previous probation. He is living under an assumed name at the time.
          7. The neighbor kept a blog that contained implied and explicit threats of physical violence against his neighbors.
          8. The neighbor's blog ceased active posting on the same day the two men disappeared.

Some conclusions can be drawn:
          1. Jack Gordon is dead
          2. John Fureigh left his self-built home on Luke Road in rural Costilla County suddenly
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Applying logical analysis to this set of facts there are three possible scenarios.

SCENARIO ONE: Jack Gordon was killed by person or persons unknown, and the same person either threatened or scared off the sex-offender neighbor to the point that he left the area permanently.  (i.e. the two disappearances are related and due to a third party perpretrator)

SCENARIO TWO: Jack Gordon was killed either accidentally or purposefully by the sex-offender neighbor who then hid or disposed of the body cleverly and then voluntarily left the area to avoid apprehension and prosecution.

SCENARIO THREE: Jack Gordon was killed by person or persons unknown who hid or disposed of the body.  The sex-offender neigbor left the area on the same day and quit making entries on his blog on the exact same day for purely coincidental reasons unrelated to the disappearance of Jack Gordon.

If I have erred in my analysis, please feel free to post a comment. 

(PERSONAL INVITATION: If you are the neighbor John Fureigh I would be interested to hear your account of the events of October 2, 2008.  You may be the only one who can show me where I may have gone wrong in my analysis.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

INSIDE THE CRIMINAL MIND

Here's an interesting read: Inside The Criminal Mind by Stanton Samenow Ph.D.

     First published in 1984, and with a more recent 2004 update, this book explores the workings of the criminal mind.  The author believes after decades of working with young adult criminals and delinquent adolescents that criminals choose to be the way they are.  He debunks popular theories of sociologists about the roots of crime.
For instance, the notion that something in a child's upbringing led to the eventual criminal behavior and therefore the criminal is a victim of circumstances beyond his or her control is addressed. If the theory is that the criminal was dropped on his head as a baby, Dr. Samenow points out that many criminals were not dropped on their heads as babies and that many babies who were dropped on their heads do not grow up to become criminals.
"Delinquent youngsters come from all social classes and from all kinds of homes. The variation in their upbringing is enormous. They differ from one another physically, in their talents and capabilities, and in many aspects of their personalities. Despite these differences, they are strkinkgly alike in that they all display the patterns that will be described in this chapter."
     The evolution of the criminal mind starts with learning patterns of manipulation early in life that enable him to negotiate the real world without consequences. The thought process becomes twisted

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Lest this blog degenerate into a quagmire of despair over the injustice done to Jack Gordon, or a littany of gripes about the ineffectiveness of the authorities or dwelling on the creepiness of his neighbors, I'd like to shift gears a little bit and focus on some positive information.  NFL football season is upon us, and in that spirit let's celebrate that part of Jack's life.

In high school, Jack was a star football player at Stow High School in Stow, OH.  He wore number "60" and played fullback.
After high school he went on to play collegiately at little Hiram College in Hiram, OH. 
In 2006, Jack Gordon was inducted into the Hiram College Athletic Hall of Fame. Here is the biographical blurb from his induction ceremony.

Jack “Flash” Gordon was a four-year letter winner as a member of the Hiram football team from 1949-1952. He was a three-year starter as a fullback. As a junior, Jack was the team’s leading rusher carrying the ball 67 times for 297 yards. In his senior season, he scored seven touchdowns and ranked among the top-15 scorers in the Ohio Conference. Following the end of his illustrious career at Hiram, Jack received an invitation from the Detroit Lions to play football.

Monday, August 6, 2012

COSTILLA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

Allow me to introduce the lead agency in the investigation of Jack Gordon's disappearance, the Costilla County Sheriff's office.

Oops- that link is for the previous sheriff.  Sheriff Martinez and Sgt. James Chavez were the primary investigators until Gilbert Martinez was defeated in the Democratic Party primary in August 2010 by Undersheriff Amos Medina.  Medina ran unopposed in the general election that year and took over the Sheriff's office shortly thereafter.  Here is the link to the current administration.  

Gilbert still works part time for the Sheriff, but is no longer actively involved in the investigation.
James Chavez was released from employment with the Sheriff when Amos took over, under something of a cloud.  As the Valley Courier reported on August 14, 2010:


Once in office Medina plans to terminate Chavez saying “he’s too much of a liability, there are lawsuits pending right now and they will probably win because there is video tape, and there was a previous law suit against Chavez from when he worked in Alamosa.”


The entire department was in turmoil during 2009 and 2010, as reported by Julia Wilson in the Valley Courier on February 9, 2010:


According to Amos Medina, one of the fired deputies, problems came to a head in the sheriff’s office on Feb. 1 when four deputies presented Martinez with a letter protesting the firing of deputy Jacob Vigil. In the letter they asked Martinez to reinstate Vigil and to get rid of Sgt. James Chavez. The other two deputies involved were Steve Lowrance and Andy Espinoza.


According to information provided to us by the current Sheriff, somehow during the transition to the new Sheriff the investigative file on the Jack Gordon case was "misplaced".  The current investigative officer is Sgt. Andrew Espinoza.  The original responding officer when Jack was reported missing was Jacob Vigil.

Oddly enough, having spoken with the various officers, I found James Chavez to be the most serious about trying to apprehend a suspect in this case.  Hopefully the current investigator will be able to pick up the traces and make some headway.

This report  in the Valley Courier from April 4, 2012 ("Costilla County fugitive still at large") is the only other recent news article I have found about the workings of the Costilla County Sheriff's office. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Anybody with information regarding the disappearance of Jack Gordon is encouraged to call the Sheriff's office at (719) 672-0673.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

JOHN BUSBY'S BLOG- PART 4

     To wrap up our week reviewing the neighbor's blog, I'd like to offer a sampling of commentary from the blog during the two months preceding Jack Gordon's disappearance.  This might give some useful insight into the neighborhood and the people who lived near Jack in the late summer of 2008.  Here are John Busby's thoughts on various topics, as expressed in his depublished blog, "Alpine Acres".  [emphasis added]