Police find two bodies in car registered to missing woman Paige Escalera deep in North Carolina woods

Stephanie Mayorga (left) and Paige Escalera have not been seen since April 15.
Stephanie Mayorga (left) and Paige Escalera have not been seen since April 15.(Wilmington Police Department)

Police have found two bodies inside a car deep in the woods off a Wilmington, N.C., roadway, matching the 2013 gray Dodge Dart connected to a couple who’ve been missing since last month.

Paige Escalera, 25, and her fiancée, 27-year-old Stephanie Mayorga, were last seen on April 15 and reported missing by a roommate a few days later.

“Wilmington Police are confirming that the car found yesterday just off River Road is registered to 25-year-old Paige Escalera,” police said in a statement. “The car was found just after 3 p.m. outside the Watermark Marina with two unidentified bodies inside. The grey 2013 Dodge Dart was deep in the woods and covered in vegetation. While the investigation continues, police believe the car may have been involved in an extremely high-velocity crash.”

Emergency dispatch records indicate that police, fire and paramedics were dispatched to the area just before midnight after a caller reported seeing “a car in their rear view mirror heading west on Independence Boulevard, going at a high rate of speed, possibly hitting a wall and then going into the wooded area,” police said. “When first responders arrived they met with the caller and searched the area with flashlights. However they were unable to find any sign of a collision and no one with injuries. Police have now broadened this investigation to include a traffic crash.”

The badly decomposed bodies were not immediately recognizable, police said, and formal identification was pending. An autopsy will be conducted “in the coming days,” police said, promising to “release information as it becomes available.”

The investigation is ongoing.

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