Teens missing for 11 days: Parents speak out

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Wednesday marks the 11th day since anyone saw or heard from Jake Ziegler or Ray Pierce. The teenagers disappeared after leaving October 13th for a trip to Myrtle Beach.

The last text sent from one of the boy's phones said, "We're almost at the beach." But investigators have said they don't think they ever made it that far.

In the days since their disappearance, hundreds of volunteers and friends have helped the families search hundreds of miles of roadsides and routes looking for any sign of the two boys. Investigators in 4 counties have searched with helicopters and ATV's and on foot with still no sign.

There has been no activity on either of the boy's cell phones are debit cards since they vanished.

"It's tough to eat, it's tough to sleep, if you're sleeping, it's tough to get yourself up the next day and get going again," said Jake Ziegler's father Zig.

The families are back in Catawba County now, regrouping after days with little to no sleep.

Ray Pierce's mother Wendy said the worst part of the ordeal is the highs and lows that come with each lead that turns up nothing. "You're thinking this might be it, this might be it. And those crashes are the worst."

Both families say they won't give up searching but also add, they aren't sure what their next steps are. They've asked for members of the public to not conduct searches on their own because law enforcement says it can be too dangerous.

They offer countless thanks to the volunteers who have helped in the searches, and the thousands of people who've prayed for the teens' safe return.

Sue Ziegler says even after 10 days, every time the phone rings, she still has hope. "You just want to believe that it's going to be them. And one of these days it's going to be.  It's one of those things where you try not to let yourself get to high but I have to tell you, your heart flutters."

If you have any information in this case, you're asked to call the Catawba County Sheriff's Office.