Paige Aiello Missing: NJ College Student 'Battling Stress'; Purse Found on Bridge

Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 02:48 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Paige Aiello, The College of New Jersey senior who went missing Tuesday, was reportedly "battling a lot of stress" prior to her disappearance, according to her older sister. Thursday marked Aiello's 22nd birthday.

"With graduation looming, she was a little down the past few weeks," Erin Aiello told MyCentralJersey.com. "She has been very upset."

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Paige Aiello, whom her sister called a "straight-A student with perfect grade-point-averages," was last seen around 1 p.m. Tuesday when her father picked her up from class at The College of New Jersey's Ewing campus and dropped her off at the family's home in Hillsborough approximately 30 minutes away. Aiello's parents had been alternately driving their daughter to class because "we didn’t want her to be alone," Erin Aiello said.

She was reported missing to police later that afternoon.

"At approximately 3 p.m. [Tuesday], Ms. Aiello’s mother noticed that her vehicle, a 2006 grey Audi A4, was taken without her permission and that her daughter Paige was missing," Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano said in a statement. "Attempts by the parents to contact Ms. Aiello by cellphone proved negative."

On Tuesday night, a passer-by found Aiello's wallet, purse, and cell phone on the upper level of the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and New York City. The Audi she had been driving was found the next day in a parking garage in New Brunswick, N.J., according to her family.

The vehicle was taken to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Forensic Laboratory for examination, and rescue boats were searching the Hudson River and surrounding areas for evidence.

Aiello was studying communications at TCNJ and was a member of the women's tennis team there, according to school spokesman Matt Golden, who also said Aiello was a commuter student but had an off-campus apartment with some other students.

Erin Aiello said her sister has enrolled in law school for the fall semester at Rutgers-Newark.

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