Man charged in abduction, rape, and murder of teen girl who was taken from front yard while waiting for school bus
34-year-old Michael Ray McLellan has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree forcible rape, statutory rape of a person under 15 years of age or younger among others
A man was, on Monday, formally charged with the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar from North Carolina. The teenager was reportedly abducted from a yard on November 5 where she was waiting for her school bus. According to court records online, 34-year-old Michael Ray McLellan has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree forcible rape, statutory rape of a person under 15 years of age or younger, first-degree sexual offense, statutory sex offense with a person 15 years or younger, first-degree kidnapping, felony larceny, felony restraint, abduction of child and concealment of a death.
PEOPLE reported that investigators from the FBI and the Lumberton Police Department have stated that DNA evidence that was recovered from the teen's remains, which were discovered on November 27 in a remote area of Lumberton, North Carolina, led them to McLellan. The man was in police custody already since November 13 on unrelated charges.
An arrest warrant that was obtained by the publication stated that McLellan was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, second-degree kidnapping and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon on November 13. The warrant also alleged that the man pointed a gun at a woman whose car he was trying to steal on October 15. The warrant added that McLellan already had a previous conviction from 2007 where it is reported he committed an armed burglary.
On November 5, at around 10 a.m., law enforcement officials issued an AMBER alert for the teen. This was three hours after McLellan allegedly abducted her from a mobile home park in Lumberton.
MURDER AND KIDNAPPING ARREST: The FBI has now charged a 34-year-old suspect in the murder of eighth-grader Hania Aguilar who was grabbed while heading out the door on her way to school in North Carolina. @ztkiesch reports. https://t.co/4qPt7Rqpyv pic.twitter.com/8pk2YlJAX9— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) December 9, 2018
At the time, authorities said that the abductor had grabbed Hania, who was an eighth-grade student, while covering his face with a yellow bandana. He put her into a green 2002 Ford Expedition and then raced away to avoid being caught. The vehicle was found abandoned three days later and had been reported as stolen out of Summerville, South Carolina.
The determination of the teenage student's cause of death will be announced only after authorities receive autopsy results. All charges against McLellan in connection with Hania's death were filed on December 7.
According to WSOC, Hania's funeral was held on December 8 at the Lumberton High School. Her father, who lives in Guatemala, was not allowed to attend the funeral because his request for a special visa was denied. Naimeh Salen, his attorney, told the news station that in spite of a widely circulated petition, and even the North Carolina governor getting involved, immigration authorities denied the request.
He told the station: "They said he doesn’t have enough ties to the country to issue him a temporary visa to go to Hania’s funeral." A petition that was started on www.change.org was able to collect more than 51,000 signatures as of December 6.