Thursday, October 6, 2022

WPD believe missing Wilmington women’s car had ‘extremely high-velocity’ crash the night of their disappearance

The grey 2013 Dodge Dart in which Stephanie Mayorga and Paige Escalera were last seen alive. (Port City Daily photo / Wilmington Police Department)

WILMINGTON — While details are scarce, the Wilmington Police Department has now confirmed several new pieces of information about the recently recovered Dodge Dart in which missing Wilmington women Stephanie Mayorga and Paige Escalera were last seen.

On Monday afternoon, WPD located a grey 2013 Dodge Dart — the same make, model, and color as the vehicle that Stephanie Mayorga, 27, and Paige Escalera, 25, were last seen in, leaving their residence on April 15. WPD later confirmed it was Escalera’s vehicle. The vehicle was located in a heavily wooded area near the Watermark Marina at the intersection of Independence Boulevard and River Road.

Two bodies were found in the vehicle but, due to advanced decomposition, authorities could not immediately identify them. According to WPD, both bodies are scheduled to undergo autopsies in the coming days.

Previously, WPD believed the vehicle may have been in Brunswick County, according to detectives at a press conference last week.

Based on 911 records, WPD now believes that the car may have involved in a ‘extremely high-velocity crash’ on the night Mayorga and Escalera disappeared.

“While the investigation continues, police believe the car may have been involved in an extremely high-velocity crash. 911 records show that 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 rearview mirror heading west on Independence Boulevard [towards River Road], going at a high rate of speed, possibly hitting a wall and then going into the wooded area. When First-Responders arrived they met with the caller and searched the area with flashlights. However, they were unable to find any sign of a collision and no one with injuries,” according to WPD.

The case remains under investigation and no further details have been released, but WPD noted they will now include the investigation to include a traffic crash.

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