Paige Aiello: student, athlete and leader

Paige Aiello. (Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office)

Tuesday marks three weeks since Paige Aiello was reported missing.

She was last seen by her father on Tuesday, April 9 in their Hillsborough home at 1 p.m. Security footage shows Aiello exiting the New York Penn Station at 4 p.m. that day, according to reports. Her belongings were discovered later that night on the walkway of the George Washington Bridge.

Although there are no updates regarding the investigation, messages of hope continue to be spread through online posts, tweets and peach ribbons. Since peach is Aiello’s favorite color, members of the community wear it to show support and encourage others to keep praying.

Aiello is a senior communication studies major at the College. She is a member of Lambda Pi Eta, the national communication honor society.

Not only is Aiello a strong student, but she is also a talented athlete. She is a captain of the women’s tennis team, which she has been part of since her freshman year.

During the 2011-12 season, Aiello earned a pair of conference honors, being named All-NJAC First Team in singles and doubles, according to the TCNJ Athletics website. She led the team with 25 wins in doubles action that season, including an 18-1 record in dual meets.

“Paige is an awesome athlete and I loved playing doubles with her during my time on the team. It was always so much fun,” senior Lauren Balsamo said. “She’s always so positive and such a supportive teammate. I know I can speak for the entire tennis team when I say she is a true role model on and off the court.”

Aiello and Balsamo are not only teammates, but they are also great friends.

“Paige is one the most kind and loving people I know,” Balsamo said. “I am so proud to call her a best friend because she is just one of those people who makes you want to be happy and smile. She is such a smart, caring and beautiful girl. Anyone who has met her knows how big her heart is and wonderful of person she is.”

Over the past few weeks, volunteer groups traveled to New York City to search for Aiello. Since she was last seen at Penn Station, groups passed out flyers featuring Aiello’s photo and information. However, these on-foot volunteer searches have been temporarily suspended to allow law enforcement to follow any leads without interference.

The Aiello family shared a statement on the “Find Paige Aiello” Facebook page, saying, “Our family would like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who has offered kindness and has been involved in the search for our daughter and sister thus far. The outpouring of support has truly been overwhelming and through that we remain committed to bringing Paige home.”

Anyone with information about Paige Aiello’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Hillsborough Police Department (908-369-4323) or the anonymous tip line (908-447-5135).

“We all really miss her and need her to come home. It just feels incomplete without her,” Balsamo said. “I couldn’t be more grateful for our friendship. We just have to stay positive and continue to pray for her safe return home.”

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