Hope hasn’t dwindled by the family searching for a pair of missing teenagers from North Carolina.
“That’s not even a question,” said Jackie Ziegler, sister of one of the missing. “I don’t have time to be hopeless. Every second I spend without hope is a second I wasted. That’s not an option.”
Jake Ziegler, 18, and Ray Pierce, 17, left a party near Sherrills Ford, N.C., in the early-morning hours Saturday, telling friends they were headed for Myrtle Beach to see the sun rise. The two, seniors at Bandys High School, haven’t been seen since.
Psychics told Jackie Ziegler the boys are injured, and in a car that is upside down in a desolate area, she said Wednesday while searchers gathered in Conway to look for the pair. They have been missing since early Saturday morning.
Friends and family of the boys have been combing South Carolina since, coming to the Conway and Myrtle Beach area Wednesday on the recommendation of multiple psychics.
Jackie Ziegler said there aren’t any updates though there have been tips of sightings. No sightings have been confirmed, she said.
The search Thursday blanketed Conway, Socastee and the coast with others looking in Camden, Sumter and on to Rock Hill.
In the Myrtle Beach area, Jackie Ziegler said more than 100 people volunteered their time to help search/
“Thankful does not even describe how I feel,” she said. “I have so much food here I don’t know what to do with it. I had a woman come here and pay for rooms for my searchers so we don’t have to keep going back and forth. I am eternally greatful.”
Most searchers have been from their hometown near Sherrills Ford, N.C., she said.
“They drove the four hours down here to search,” she said.
As the sun starts setting the search winds down forcing Jackie Ziegler to regroup for the next day. She has no plans to stop the search.
Local authorities are still not involved in the search officially, but all officers are aware of the situation, said Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes.
“All Horry County Police officers on duty have been given information regarding the vehicle and missing boys’ descriptions and will be actively looking while on patrol,” she said. “If any concrete evidence leading to Horry County being their location surfaces, searching strategies will be re-evaluated at that time. We are in contact with SLED and will continue to work with them as any information becomes available.”
Jackie Ziegler said she understood why Horry County and Myrtle Beach police weren’t initiating any official searches, saying she knows the tips from psychics aren’t solid enough for police.
The last known contact from the teens came from the I-77 area. Authorities said one of the teens sent a text message about 2:45 a.m. Saturday, and the phone was in use on I-77 in Fairfield County, between exits 45 and 48. That is about 35 miles north of Columbia. The signal bounced off a cell tower in Rock Hill.
Neither of the teens’ cell phones or bank cards have not been used since.
The Charlotte Observer reported that a helicopter was used to search along I-77 on Tuesday, but nothing was found.
The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division issued an advisory to law enforcement agencies statewide to be on the lookout for the pair. They were driving a green 2006 Pontiac G6, with N.C. license tags BBD-8844.
The parents are offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who finds the missing teenagers, according to a Facebook page about the search.
Both teenagers are described as being about 5-foot, 11-inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds each. Ziegler was last seen wearing gray cargo shorts and a royal blue T-shirt with white reverse lettering. Pierce was wearing blue jeans, a red and gray RVCA jacket and Timberland boots.
Anyone with information is asked to call 888-CRIME-SC.
The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.