LUMBERTON — Wednesday marked one month since the beginning of the tragic saga of Hania Aguilar’s kidnapping and death — and local law enforcement are determined to ensure the story ends with the arrest and conviction of the the person or people responsible for bringing the 13-year-old’s life story to an end.
Aguilar’s family is preparing to bury the slain teen on Saturday.
“Today, marks exactly one month since Hania Aguilar was kidnapped from outside her home in Lumberton,” Shelley Lynch, an FBI spokesperson wrote Wednesday in a statement. “Since then the Lumberton P.D., FBI, and many other law enforcement partners have engaged in a great amount of investigative work to uncover and collect evidence to identify the person responsible so they can be held accountable by our judicial system. We continue to encourage the public to support our efforts by providing information to our tip line at 910-272-5871.”
Aguilar was kidnapped Nov. 5 outside her home in Rosewood Mobile Park, located at 3525 Elizabethtown Road in Lumberton, as she waited for a ride to Lumberton Junior High School. A witness reported seeing a man dressed all in black and wearing a yellow bandana over his face force the teenager into an SUV and drive away. The SUV was found Nov. 8 off Quincey Road.
Her body was found the afternoon of Nov. 27 in a body of water off Wire Grass Road near Orrum.
“The N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office continues the work to fully confirm Hania’s identity with dental records, conduct an autopsy and toxicology testing,” Lynch wrote. “The N.C. State Crime Lab will process any evidence discovered on the body or at the scene off Wire Grass Road where the body was found by investigators who were following up on leads generated through the investigation.”
There is no timeline on when the testing will be completed, according to Lynch.
People who live along Wire Grass Road are asked to come forward if they have information, saw something or have surveillance video that might help investigators learn how the body came to be where it was found. Anyone with any information about the case is asked to call the tip line.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Aguilar’s kidnapping and death. The state is offering an additional $5,000.
A petition on Change.org urges immigration officials to let Aguilar’s father attend her funeral. The petition says her father lives in Guatemala and would need an expedited visa to attend. There was no word Wednesday afternoon on whether or not a visa had been issued.
A private mass for Aguilar is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church, located at 2008 Elizabethtown Road in Lumberton. The bilingual funeral service will take place noon Saturday at Lumberton Senior High School. Interment is to be in Meadowbrook Cemetery in Lumberton.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]