Missing teen's mom: Every family has a right to bring their loved one home

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Jake Ziegler's mother, sister and father all sat down on the family couch together Thursday to tell their tragic story in the hopes it might help other families of missing people.

"We're trying to keep it together the best that we can," said Sue Ziegler, Jake's mother.

On October 13th Jake Ziegler and Ray Pierce left in the early morning hours to head to Myrtle Beach. They were never heard from again. For more than two weeks, families of both boys and law enforcement combed stretches of woods along the routes to Myrtle Beach in hopes of finding them.

Sunday October 28th, their worst nightmare became a reality. Searchers with the CUE Center for Missing Persons found the car the boys were in, submerged in a creek off I-20 in Kershaw County. Jake and Ray were found deceased in the car.

"You can never prepare yourself for that phone call," said Zig, Jake's Father, "to pull up along side of the road and see the tow truck and ambulance and dive team, there's no preparing for that."

Both families say the teens might never have been found if it weren't for the CUE Center. The group's director Monica Caison suggested crews search under the bridge where the car was found. The Ziegler family now hopes telling their story will highlight the actions of the agency.

"I'm going to try to make him proud," said Sue of honoring her son's memory, "and I'm going to try to help other families that find themselves in this situation. Because every family has a right to know, every family has a right to bring their loved one home."

Instead of flowers, the Ziegler's are asking for donations to be made in Jake and Ray's name to the CUE center. For more information on the organization visit http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/

A memorial service will be held Friday night at Bandys High School in Catawba County at 6:15 p.m.