Police searching for newly-engaged couple find badly decomposed bodies in their car

‘This case remains under investigation’

James Crump
Wednesday 06 May 2020 20:39 BST
The couple in a photo posted by authorities
The couple in a photo posted by authorities ((Wilmington, NC Police Department, Facebook))

Two decomposed bodies have been found by police in a car registered to one half of a newly engaged couple, who disappeared without their phones last month.

The Wilmington, North Carolina, police department said in a post on Facebook that two bodies had been found, but said they were too decomposed to be identified.

Twenty-seven-year old Stephanie Mayorga and Paige Escalera, 25, were reported missing on 19 April by a roommate.

The police confirmed that the couple had blocked their friends on social media and had not used any bank cards since they were last seen on 15 April, in Wilmington,

Authorities initially said that the car was the same brand as Ms Escalera’s 2013 Dodge Dart, but later confirmed in a statement that it was her vehicle.

Earlier this week, Allison Rice, Ms Escalera’s mother, and Rigo Villafuerte, Ms Mayorga’s father, issued an appeal for their daughters.

Ms Rice said: “Our families are heartbroken. We’re each other’s rock right now we’re together in this right now. We’re family.”

Mr Villafuerte added: “This is our worst nightmare. We’re just so desperate to see them to come home We have a lot of dreams for both of them.”

The police department are now investigating the possibility that the car was involved in a crash, after it was found in the woods.

“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,” their statement read.

The department added that on the same day the couple went missing, a crash was reported in the same area, but no car was found.

“On April 15, police, fire, and EMS were dispatched to this area just before midnight. A caller advised that they saw 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,” the post read.

Both of the bodies will undergo an autopsy, and the police said: “We will release information as it becomes available. This case remains under investigation.”

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