“48 HOURS” EXPLORES TWO MURDER CASES THAT RIPPED FAMILIES APART IN A SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE
“The Secret Life of Paige Birgfeld” – 9:00 PM
“Crime & Punishment” – 10:00 PM
(L-R) Paige Birgfeld; Dennis and Phonthip Ott
48 HOURS explores two murder cases that ripped families apart in a Saturday night double feature to be broadcast Saturday, July 1 (9:00 PM, 10:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
At 9:00 PM, Erin Moriarty and 48 HOURS continue a multi-year investigation into the disappearance and murder of Paige Birgfeld, a Colorado mother of three, who went missing in June 2007 in an updated edition of “The Secret Life of Paige Birgfeld.” Birgfeld vanished June 28, 2007, leaving behind her children and dark secrets her family would only learn after they pieced together her hidden life as a high-priced escort. When police discovered her secret life, they thought they had a clue to her disappearance. Her family was sure something bad had happened because Paige would never voluntarily leave her kids behind. But the family and volunteers searched the surrounding hills and valleys and found nothing.
Police, however, also began tracing Birgfeld’s cellphone records, which led them to her clients. Everything changed in 2012 when a hiker found Birgfeld’s body. Moriarty and 48 HOURS report on the latest developments in the case, which may finally reveal the answers Birgfeld’s family has been waiting years to hear.
At 10:00 PM, Tracy Smith and 48 HOURS examine a family torn apart by murder in an encore of 48 HOURS PRESENTS: “Crime & Punishment.” It’s a heart-wrenching story about a young mom’s murder, the conviction of her husband, and the mom’s two daughters’ steadfast belief their stepfather did it. It’s also a story about the daughters’ dedication in keeping him in prison forever and what happens to a family long after a trial is over.
In 1992, Phonthip Ott’s body was found by a fisherman in the Sacramento River, in Sacramento, Calif. Her daughters, Tippy Dhaliwal and Jeanette Marine, say they immediately knew their stepfather, Dennis Ott, then a 41-year-old Coast Guard petty officer, did it. Police investigated, but the case dragged on for nearly two years. The case turned when Tippy, then 16, wrote a note to the district attorney and the Coast Guard, urging them to arrest Ott. Ott was eventually charged with murder. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Most stories end there. Not this one. For 25 years, sisters Dhaliwal and Marine have been on a mission to keep Ott in prison, and they won’t give up. Ott has maintained throughout that he’s innocent, which could be a sticking point in his parole hearings. While admitting guilt or showing remorse isn’t mandated, legal experts believe it goes a long way with those deciding whether prisoners are paroled. But what happens to a family when they realize that the fight for justice for their mother does not end with a guilty verdict, and they must face their mother’s convicted killer year after year to keep him in prison?
48 HOURS: “The Secret Life of Paige Birgfeld” is produced by Tom Seligson, Sara Ely Hulse and Lindsay Schwartz. Phil Tangel is the editor. Linda Martin is the update producers. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
48 HOURS PRESENTS: “Crime & Punishment” is produced by Marcelena Spencer. Ryan Smith is the field producer. Elena DiFiore and Gayane Keshishyan Mendez are the development producers. Jud Johnston and Jason Schmidt are the editors. Linda Martin is the update producer. Patti Aronofsky is the senior producer. Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.