WORLD Authorities ID body as kidnapped North Carolina teen girl

WORLD

Authorities ID body as kidnapped North Carolina teen girl

AP

07:22, November 29, 2018

BBQduz4.jpg

This Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, photo provided by FBI shows Hania Noelia Aguilar, the day before she went missing in Lumberton, N.C. (Photo: AP)

A body found in North Carolina has been preliminarily identified as a 13-year-old girl kidnapped outside her home, investigators said Wednesday, bringing a sad conclusion to a three-week search involving hundreds of investigators.

Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill told reporters at a news conference that state crime lab tests indicate the body found late Tuesday is Hania Aguilar. While a final determination will be made with dental records, investigators believe the body is hers.

"This is the outcome that we all feared," he said. "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."

He pledged to bring whoever is responsible to justice. Investigators said they don't currently have a suspect or person of interest.

The chief said Hania's body was found in a body of water in Robeson County about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of the mobile home park where she was kidnapped on Nov. 5 after going outside to start a relative's SUV before school.

Authorities wouldn't elaborate on whether the body had been concealed, but said it was not visible from the road or obvious to people passing by. Investigators spent Wednesday combing the area in daylight after finding the body the previous night.

The cause of death hasn't been released, pending an autopsy. Investigators would not describe the condition of the body. An FBI official said he did not have any information as to whether Hania was killed where she was found or elsewhere.

Police say a man forced Hania into an SUV and drove off. The SUV was found several miles south of her mobile home park. The body was found a few miles farther away.

McNeill has previously said that a witness saw a man dressed in black with a yellow bandanna grab Hania in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park in Lumberton. Police say the eighth grader had taken her aunt's keys to start the vehicle to prepare to leave for the bus stop. They say the man forced her into the green Ford Expedition and drove off.

The FBI soon joined the search, offering reward money and transmitting her picture around the country. The SUV was found abandoned several days later, but signs of the girl or her remains eluded investigators for several weeks.

Drones, dogs and scores of searchers on foot spent the following weeks combing the county about 100 miles (161 km) south of Raleigh.

A $30,000 reward remains in place for information related to the kidnapping, the FBI said.


Related Stories

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue