Police arrest suspect after abduction, murder of North Carolina girl

 nbcnews.com  12/8/2018 11:06:00 AM 
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A man has been arrested in connection with the abduction and murder of a 13-year-old North Carolina girl, police said early Saturday.

The Lumberton Police and FBI charged Michael McLellan, 34, with 10 felonies including first-degree murder and first-degree forcible rape in connection to the death of Hania Aguilar.

The teen was kidnapped from her driveway on Nov. 5 when a suspect forced her into a family member's idling sport-utility vehicle, police said. Her family had been getting ready to drive her to a school bus stop.

Witnesses reported hearing the girl scream and a man dressed in all black with a yellow bandanna across his face force her into the SUV and drive away, authorities have previously said.

The vehicle was recovered on Nov. 8 in the woods about 10 miles from the family's home while her body was located on Nov. 27. Police said results of forensic testing were issued Friday, allowing charges to be laid.

McLellan was already being held in police custody on unrelated charges at the time his arrest related to Aguilar was made, police said. The nature of the previous charges was not specified and police did not mention any prior connection between McLellan and Aguilar or her family in Saturday's statement.

The weeks-long investigation into Aguilar's kidnapping involved nearly 500 interviews, police said.

During that time, students at Lumberton Junior High held prayer vigils and made posters and banners supporting the search for their missing classmate. Upon news of Aguilar's death, students wore her favorite color, purple, to honor her.

"The wonderful memories of Hania — loving smile, her laughter, funny conversations, kind acts and fun times will not be taken away by this senseless act of violence," Principal SaVon F. Maultsby told reporters at a news conference last month.

McLellan is being held at the Robeson County Detention Center without bail and is scheduled to have his first court appearance on Monday.

The investigation is continuing and police said an autopsy is yet to be completed.

Linda Givetash

Linda Givetash is a reporter based in London. She previously worked for The Canadian Press in Vancouver and Nation Media in Uganda. 

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