What to Know About the Missing N.C. Couple Found Dead After Drunken, High-Speed Crash

Stephanie Mayorga and Paige Escalera died on April 15 while driving intoxicated at 103 mph


The search for two North Carolina women came to a sad end last week when their decomposing bodies were found in their car off the side of a road. Police confirmed the couple had crashed after driving drunk and speeding, saying their sudden deaths happened in the "blink of an eye."

Here are four things to know about Stephanie Mayorga and Paige Escalera.

They Were Recently Engaged

Mayorga, 27, and Escalera, 25, were recently engaged and living together in a Wilmington apartment before they disappeared. They were reported missing by their roommate on April 19 when she hadn't seen them for three days.

Soon after, their families began sharing photos and missing posters on Facebook to help spread the word and, hopefully, locate the couple.

"I just wanted everyone to know that we (Paige Escalera’s immediate family) and Stephanie Nicole’s immediate family are working together as a TEAM! We are in this TOGETHER," Escalera's sister, Stevie Jenkins, wrote in a Facebook post on April 30.

They Acted "Entirely Normal" When They Left Home on Night of Crash, Police Said

Video footage from their apartment complex recovered by police showed the women exiting their apartment on April 15. Police did not suspect foul play, but did say the pair went missing under mysterious circumstances.

According to investigators, the couple left behind some items in their apartment indicating that they didn’t plan to be gone for long. Surveillance footage from a neighbor’s security camera shows the women getting into a grey 2013 Dodge Dart.

“Their departure appeared to be entirely normal,” Wilmington Police Captain Thomas Tilmon said at a press conference.

Stephanie Mayorga and Paige Escalera
Wilmington Police Department

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A 911 Call Led Police to Their Car

During their investigation, authorities uncovered a 911 call made on the night of the pair's disappearance.

The caller reported a car "traveling at a high rate of speed, running through a stop sign, and crashing" near an intersection 6.5 miles from the couple's apartment. That night, nine emergency responders, along with the 911 caller, were at the scene searching for the car in question. However, they found no evidence of a wreck at that time.

When investigators later revisited the site, they found the couple dead inside their Dodge Dart, which was partially submerged in a swamp "deep in the woods off the intersection of Independence Blvd. and River Road," according to a news release.

The Women Had Been Drinking

On Thursday, police announced that the couple were speeding and had been intoxicated before they crashed.

Several open and empty beer bottles were discovered in the couple's car, which Mayorga had been driving at the time of the fatal incident. According to investigators, the couple were also seen buying beer from a convenience store one hour before the crash.

The car was going 103 miles per hour when it hit the curb and went airborne.

Stephanie Mayorga (left) and Paige Escalera (right), have not been seen since April 15th
Wilmington, NC Police Department

"This crash happened in the blink of an eye. From the time the vehicle hit the curb to the time of the collision, only 0.99 seconds elapsed," the police news release states.

The couple's cause of death has been ruled the result of traumatic head and chest injuries sustained in the wreck.

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