Vigil planned after Wake Forest teen drowns, another hospitalized


Mary Paige Merical remains at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville after spending 14 minutes underwater when she and Ian Lewis were caught in rip currents on Friday at Emerald Isle Beach.

Lewis’ body was recovered Monday morning.

Merical’s mother, Suzi Merical said family remains at her daughter’s bedside, praying for the 17-year-old to recover.

“They just went a little too far out,” Suzi Merical said.

Merical said her daughter had been looking forward to her trip to the beach with friends for weeks. 

“She’s such a free spirit and she loved the waves, loved the ocean. She’d only been there an hour,” Merical said.

The incident happened just before 4 p.m. Friday. 

First responders managed to locate Paige Merical. 

“I know Paige is still in there. I can feel it when I talk to her. I feel her look at me when I talk to her. I can feel a difference and the numbers change,” Merical said. 

After search efforts all weekend, Lewis’ body was found early Monday morning.

Nate Sander considered him a good friend. 

“Ian was an awesome guy. He always had a smile on his face. He could make anyone laugh,” Sander said. 

Sander said it still doesn’t feel real to him or his other friends. 

“It’s just super sad cause it happened so fast and it can happen to anyone,” Sander said. 

“All we need is one miracle, one miracle,” Merical said. 

A vigil is planned at E. Carroll Joyner Park in Wake Forest Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m.

GoFundMe’s have been set up for each teen.

GoFundMe for Ian Lewis.  

GoFundMe for Mary Paige Merical

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