By Kendall McGee | May 1, 2020 at 4:24 PM EDT – Updated May 2 at 11:04 AM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Family, friends and perfect strangers alike met up Friday to search for a Wilmington couple last seen two weeks ago.
Paige Escalera and Stephanie Mayorga were last seen April 15, leaving their apartment off Kerr Avenue in a grey Dodge Dart.
Police released new images of the women this week as they were leaving the house. Investigators say it appears they didn’t plan on being gone long. The case had a slow build, but two weeks after their roommate filed the official report April 19, the story has garnered national media attention and assistance from the FBI.
Friday, loved ones met up in the Home Goods parking lot to comfort each other, distribute fliers, plan search routes and pray for the couple’s safe return.
Thousands of fliers were distributed to volunteers. Organizers divided a map of Wilmington up into sections and assigned those sections out to teams to search for the women and cover in fliers.
Everyone who showed up Friday said they were floored to see the support of the community.
“When we started this thing, it was ‘hey lets get a whole bunch of people together’ and I noticed this parking lot was empty and its grown into much more than I thought I would be,” said organizer Casey Mooring. “We just want to bring them home really. That’s the only reason we are here. We are here to make sure these faces make it to everyone on social media, everyone on the streets, at the gas station, every corner, everywhere we can get the info out.”
Several people that showed up Friday didn’t know Mayorga or Escalera.
“You don’t need to be close to somebody to help out. Especially in these times… you can still lend a helping hand to those in need,” said Maranda Katnic. “The family, they’re really distraught but they want to celebrate despite all of this–they want to celebrate how many people are here for their family.”
Wilmington police ask that anyone with information about Mayorga and Escalera or the grey Dodge Dart please call 910-343-3609.
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