Paige Merical, teen girl caught in Emerald Isle rip current dies; family says she was 'called to heaven' far too soon
The teen girl who was rescued from stormy waters along the coast of Emerald Isle in North Carolina, on April 19, has tragically passed away. John Merical, her father and Meredith Jarrell, her aunt, posted on the Wake Forest Community Information page on April 24 that 17-year-old Paige Merical is now "closer to heaven". A post that had been put up by the teen's father early on April 25 said that "it appears Paige has been called to heaven far sooner than we ever thought possible".
John said in a post on Facebook: "I wish I had good news for everyone. Paige fought a tough fight, but her brain was too severely damaged. We get to love on my baby for the next few days, with organ donation Saturday." The post also seemed to indicate that Paige will be taken off life support at some point before April 27, WCTI12 reported.
Paige had been pulled from the extremely rough waters at Emerald Isle on April 19 after a distress call went out to the authorities from witnesses asking for help in trying to rescue the teen and 18-year-old Ian Frazier Lewis in the 9300 block of the beach strand. Paige and Ian were caught in a rip current last Friday afternoon. The authorities spotted and rescued Paige but did not have any luck in locating Ian even after intense searches took place on April 20 and 21.
Officials said that Ian's body finally washed ashore on April 22. A full funeral service will be taking place for Ian on April 28 at 1 p.m. at the Binkley Chapel in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest. There has not been any information regarding Paige's funeral as of yet. Both the teens were seniors at Wake Forest High School and were in Emerald Isle for their Spring break.
Paige was taken to the Carteret Health Care in Morehead City after she was rescued from the water and was later transferred to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. She had been in critical care since then. Jarrell said: "This is a very trying time for her parents and our family as we will struggle to get through every second, minute, hour, day, week, month and year without her here."
A GoFundMe page for the teen girl is currently still active and more than $8,700 has been raised so far. A GoFundMe page for Ian has exceeded the goal of $12,000.