Friends, family say goodbye to Wake Forest teenager, pray for another

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hundreds gathered together Tuesday night to remember one friend while continuing to pray for another.

Ian Lewis and Paige Merical were part of a small group of Wake Forest High School students enjoying a spring break trip to Emerald Isle until they got caught up in a rip current.

Merical is still in the hospital at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

"Nothing can prepare you for losing someone so young," said Erik Lewis, Ian's brother.

Lewis spoke at the end of the candlelight vigil on Tuesday at Carroll Joyner Park.

"We've all lost something in Ian whether you knew him or you didn't," Lewis said. "The world is a worse place without him. He was such a bright, enjoyable person."

Hanna is Ian's older sister.

"He was so unapologetically who he was," Hanna said. "He didn't care about what anybody thought. He was proud of himself and he lived his life and he didn't care what anybody had to say about it.

First responders found Lewis' body on Monday.

"There were so many people here and it's very comforting to know that he was so loved and that he was loved as much as we loved him," Hanna said.

Jade Roberson, Olivia Bang and Sabyrnn Lineback are all close friends with Merical.

"Every time I see her last name, that's what I think of: just like a miracle," Roberson said. "That's what she needs and that's what she is."

Sabrynn called her eyes "legendary."

"They are just so bright and beautiful," Lineback said. "She was just one of those people when you were around her, it was constant laughter."

All three urged the public to pray for Merical. They have been to visit her the last few days.

"You really don't expect to see your friends in the hospital," Bang said. "We didn't expect spring break to end this way."
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