A car belonging to one of two North Carolina women who have been missing since mid-April was found with two bodies inside in a heavily wooded area.
Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, announced Tuesday that on Monday they discovered a gray Dodge Dart belonging to Paige Escalera. Escalera, 25, was last seen with her fiancée, Stephanie Mayorga, 27, on April 15, and authorities said at the time that the two disappeared under “suspicious” circumstances.
“The car was found just after 3 p.m. outside the Watermark Marina with two unidentified bodies inside,” Wilmington police said in the statement Tuesday. The vehicle was “deep in the woods and covered in vegetation,” and authorities believe the car “may have been involved in an extremely high velocity crash.”
"Due to the effects of decomposition, police cannot positively identify the two bodies at this time," police said, but autopsies are scheduled.
Escalera and Mayorga were reported missing by their roommate, who filed a missing persons report several days after they were last seen on April 15.
Police Capt. Thomas Tillman said surveillance footage showed the couple leaving their Wilmington home and driving the 2013 Dart with two stickers on the back windshield and South Carolina plates.
The couple had only recently met and moved in together in March.
Police said Tuesday that they had received a report of a high-speed crash in mid-April in the area near where the 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 wrote in the statement.
Police, the fire department and emergency medical responders used flashlights to search the woods but did not at the time see any evidence of an accident or of the car discovered Monday.
“They were unable to find any sign of a collision and no one with injuries,” the police statement said.