Follow the Trail

Michael McLellan, arrested in kidnapping, rape and murder of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar

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A 34-year-old suspect was arrested early Saturday morning for the abduction, rape and murder of a 13-year-old North Carolina girl.

Michael McLellan was already in police custody on unrelated kidnapping charges when he was hit with 10 additional felony counts in connection with the death of Hania Aguilar, including first-degree murder, first-degree forcible rape, first-degree kidnapping and concealment of death, according to an FBI Charlotte press release.

Hania’s family had been getting ready to drop her off at her school bus stop the morning of Nov. 5 when a suspect wearing a black and yellow bandanna forced her inside her aunt’s idling sport-utility vehicle.

Her disappearance sparked a massive hunt spanning two states, but they did not find the teen’s body until Nov. 27. She was recovered from a pond not far from the Rosewood Mobile Home Park where she lived with her family.

The North Carolina State crime lab performed preliminary test result’s on Hania’s body while the FBI’s lab in Quantico conducted a forensic exam on the stolen SUV, recovered a few days after the kidnapping on Nov. 8.

The weeks-long investigation also involved nearly 500 interviews and more than 850 leads, though officers would not say what exactly led them to suspect McLellan.

“The results of those tests, including some received on December 7, 2018, and through a criminal investigation resulted in our current charges,” authorities said in a statement.

McLellan is being held at the Robeson County Detention Center without bail and is slated to make his initial court appearance on Monday morning.

Authorities added that the investigation is still ongoing and that an autopsy has not yet been completed.

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