CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. -- Hundreds of friends and family members are fanning out Wednesday across two parts of South Carolina, looking for two young men from Catawba County who have been missing since early Saturday.
Jake Ziegler, 18, and Ray Pierce, 17, left a party near Sherrills Ford in the early-morning hours Saturday, telling friends they were headed for Myrtle Beach. The two, seniors at Bandys High School, haven’t been seen since.
One group of searchers gathered at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Conway Public Safety Building in Horry County, to look across the Myrtle Beach area. Meanwhile, others planned to travel along the Interstate 77 corridor from south of Rock Hill to Columbia.
I-77 has emerged as a center of attention, because the last known contact from the teens came there.
Authorities say one of the teens sent a text message about 2:45 a.m. Saturday, and they say 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.
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Family members say the teens’ cell phones and bank cards have not been used since then.
The S.C. Law Enforcement Division used its helicopter to search along I-77 on Tuesday, but crews did not see anything. The Fairfield County Sheriff's Office joined the search Wednesday.
Ziegler's sister said people are searching in Conway because two psychics told them the same information--that an upside down car is at Highway 501 in Conway. Ziegler's father, Zig, flew in a helicopter over Conway Wednesday afternoon while Jake's mother is searching near their home in Sherrills Ford.
Meanwhile, friends at Bandys High are wearing yellow today, in hopes of finding the missing teens. They also have set up a Twitter hashtag, #FindJakeandRay, in an effort to pass along tips and spread news.
Ziegler and Pierce were driving a green 2006 Pontiac G6, with N.C. license tags BBD-8844.