‘This is our worst nightmare': Parents plead for return of missing Wilmington women

Stephanie Mayorga (left) and Paige Escalera (right), have not been seen since April 15th.
Stephanie Mayorga (left) and Paige Escalera (right), have not been seen since April 15th.(Wilmington Police Department)
Updated: May. 4, 2020 at 3:45 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Weeks after two Wilmington women disappeared from their Kerr Avenue apartment, family and friends have not given up the search for Paige Escalera and Stephanie Mayorga.

Since the report was filed, their story has garnered national attention and the FBI has been called in to assist in the investigation.

Loved ones met again Monday in the Home Goods parking lot to pass out fliers and discuss search routes. The parents of the missing women spoke publicly for the first time, pleading for help bringing their girls home.

“Anyone who has seen any of them...just please. Any tip. You may think its small and it might be something really big. Just please call. Call the number let us know. Our families are heartbroken. We’re each other’s rock right now we’re together in this right now. We’re family,” said Paige’s mother, Allison Rice.

“This is our worst nightmare. We’re just so desperate to see them to come home,” said Stephanie’s father, Rigo Villafuerte. "We have a lot of dreams for both of them.”

Paige was in school working to pursue a career in criminal justice. Stephanie was taking classes at UNCW in hopes of becoming a surgeon. Both families emphasize both women have kind hearts and were known to help anyone in need.

Stephanie’s parents say the last message they got from their daughter said “I love you, Mom.”

The engaged couple was reported missing to Wilmington police on April 19, by their roommate.

According to police, the women were last seen leaving their apartment on April 15 and getting into a grey 2013 Dodge Dart.

While investigators say they didn’t find any signs of foul play inside the apartment, the women didn’t take any of their possessions, which police say suggests they didn’t plan on being gone very long.

WPD Criminal Investigation Division Press Conference

The WPD Criminal Investigation Division held a press conference today at 1 p.m. to provide details on the disappearance of Stephanie Mayorga and Paige Escalera.

Posted by Wilmington, NC Police Department on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

On Monday, family wanted to bring special attention to the car they were last spotted leaving inside. Simply finding the Dodge Dart could be the missing piece to the puzzle.

“The car is our main focus. If we find that car, its gonna lead us to our first clue that helps us find our daughters," said Paige’s father Daniel Rice.

Stephanie’s father explains the Dodge Dart has several distinguishing characteristics, including stickers at the bottom of the rear windows. While those could potentially be tampered with, the vehicle also has a dent to the back left side of the bumper and a crack straight down the middle of the front fender.

“We need your help. Someone must have seen something. These are our daughters," said Villlafuerte.

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