North Carolina couple Stephanie Mayorga, 27, and Paige Escalera, 25, were intoxicated and speeding at up to 103 miles per hour when their car was found “deep in the woods and covered in vegetation,” police said. The autopsy confirmed that the two bodies in the car, which were “both significantly decomposed” when cops discovered them, were Mayorga and Escalera, and that “alcohol and speed were major factors in the wreck,” said Wilmington Police Department’s Deputy Chief Alex Sotelo in a statement
“Several open empty beer bottles were discovered in the vehicle and investigators were able to determine the women purchased a 12-pack of beer from the convenience store at 10:42 p.m., roughly one hour before the crash,” she explained, adding that a toxicology report may not be possible considering how decomposed their bodies were.
She said authorities believe the couple's car, traveling at up to 103 mph, hit the curb, flew into the air and lodged itself in the wooded area. “Officers had to use a machete to cut a path to the vehicle,” Sotelo said, describing how deep the car was hidden. “Thick vegetation fully covered the taillights and covered any reflection under a search light.”
Authorities initially had a difficult time finding the crash site, she said, explaining “there were no obvious signs of a wreck,” Sotelo said. “The only evidence of a crash was a faint tire imprint near the curb, as well as scuff marks on the curb itself.”
“The crash happened at the blink of an eye,” she explained. “From the time the vehicle hit the curb to the time of collision, only 0.99 seconds had elapsed.”
Their death was originally being investigated as a disappearance under suspicious circumstances, with a false tip even claiming they have been kidnapped and demanding ransom, Sotelo said.