Two Bodies Found in Car of Newly Engaged Couple Missing Out of North Carolina

Stephanie Mayorga (left) and Paige Escalera (right), were last seen April 15.
Wilmington Police Department

A vehicle belonging to Paige Escalera, who along with her fiancée, Stephanie Mayorga, vanished after last being seen at their North Carolina home, has been discovered with two bodies inside in a deeply wooded area, police said.

A gray 2013 Dodge Dart belonging to Escalera, 25, was found about 3 p.m. Monday outside the Watermark Marina "with two unidentified bodies inside," Wilmington Police said in a statement. Mayorga, 27, and Escalera were last seen April 15 and officials said at the time that they disappeared under "suspicious" circumstances. 

The car was found “deep in the woods and covered in vegetation,” police said. "While the investigation continues, police believe the car may have been involved in an extremely high velocity crash," the statement continued. 

Authorities were unable to immediately identify the two bodies due to the effects of decomposition, but noted autopsies are scheduled. 

The women's roommate reported the couple missing several days after they left their Wilmington home April 15. Surveillance footage showed the pair leaving the house and driving away in the car, officials said.

Police in mid-April received a report of a high-speed crash near where Escalera's car was found this week. 

“A caller advised that they saw a car in their rearview 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 in the statement.

Emergency responders met with the caller at the scene of the reported crash and searched the area with flashlights, but were unable to find any sign of a collision or of the car found Monday.

"Police have now broadened this investigation to include a traffic crash," the statement said. "This case remains under investigation."

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