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Two Decomposed Bodies Found In Car Driven By Missing Newly-Engaged Couple

Two badly decomposed bodies have been discovered inside a car driven by a newly engaged couple who have been missing for weeks.

Stephanie Mayorga, 27, and Paige Escalera, 25, were last seen April 15 near the University North Carolina-Wilmington campus in the US and were believed to be travelling in a dark grey Dodge Dart with South Carolina tags.

Police said the car was found just after 3 pm on Monday in "deep woods" near Cape Fear River in North Carolina. The bodies were too badly decomposed for immediate identification.

The pair were captured by security footage leaving their home in the grey Dodge Dart. Authorities today confirmed the car belonged to Escalera.

It is understood they vanished without their phones, laptops or watches, and no transactions have been made on their credit or debit cards.

But their disappearance wasn't reported until three days later because the couple's roommate told officers they didn't know you could file a missing person report before 72 hours had passed.

Escalera's sister Stevie Jenkins told the Sun she and her sibling had "struggled with our relationship since we were teens".

"We drifted and haven’t been involved much with one another in 10 years," she said.

"However, for Christmas this year we got to visit with one another. As we joked and reminisced about our younger days we would laugh so hard and it felt so good to have my sister back."

Other family members also issued emotional appeals.

Escalera's mum Allison Rice said: "Our families are heartbroken. We’re each other’s rock right now we’re together in this right now. We’re family."

Police have refused to provide any further details but are urging people who may have information about their disappearance to come forward.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 000. If you need help and advice, call 1800Respect on 1800 737 732, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Featured image: Wilmington, NC Police Department