Body of kidnapped 13-year-old Hania Aguilar is found
On November 5, Hania Noelia Aguilar was kidnapped after going outside to start an SUV for a relative who was going to drive her to the school bus. A neighbor heard screams and saw a man force her into the SUV and drive away.
On Tuesday, police found a body in water 10 miles from the teenager’s home in Robeson County. It is believed that the body belongs to Aguilar.
At a recent news conference, Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill revealed that state crime laboratory tests indicated that the body found late Tuesday was Hania Noelia Aguilar’s. However, a final determination will be made with dental records.
“This is the outcome that we all feared. We did not want to hear this. We wanted to bring Hania back home and bring her back home alive to our community. It hurts.”
“The school district said they were mourning the loss and were still processing the terrible tragedy. They were keeping Hania in their thoughts and would continue to pray for her family and each other as the investigation continued.”
So far, investigators don’t have a suspect or person of interest. The body was found south of the city in an area where authorities had searched for the Lumberton Junior High student.
In a statement, Robeson County schools Superintendent Shanita Wooten said:
"The body is believed to be Hania, but the identity has not yet been confirmed. Authorities have notified Hania’s family, and they are waiting for the body to be positively identified."
The SUV that the teenager, 13, was abducted in was found three days later in a wooded area several miles from her home. Throughout the investigation, authorities had followed more than 800 leads, interviewed more than 400 people, and reviewed hours of surveillance footage to no avail.
In a statement, the school district said:
"This is an unfortunate end to an extensive search, and we are committed to supporting all students and staff as they cope with the heartbreaking tragedy. This is a difficult time for our entire district, and we are mourning this loss and are still processing this terrible tragedy. We are keeping Hania in our thoughts and will continue to pray for her family and each other as the investigation continues.”
Aguilar’s cause of death wasn’t released, pending an autopsy. The FBI shared that a $30,000 reward still remained in place for anyone with information related to the kidnapping.
The teenager was said to have been kidnapped by a man wearing all black and a yellow bandana. At the time, an Amber Alert had been released and officials set up a special tip line for information related to her disappearance.
The tip line number is (910) 272-5871.
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