The body of a girl found in North Carolina has been preliminarily identified as 13-year-old Hania Aguilar, who was kidnapped while standing outside her home three weeks ago.
Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday that state crime lab tests show the body found late Tuesday is that of the Latina teen; however, a final determination can only be made after matching the remains with dental records.
“This is the outcome that we all feared,” McNeill 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.”
According to CBS News, Hania, an eighth-grader, was taken on the morning of Nov. 5 outside her home in Lumberton while waiting for a relative to drive her to school. The body was found 10 miles away from her mobile home park in a body of water in Robeson County.
Authorities are still unsure whether she was killed where she was found or elsewhere, and her cause of death is waiting to be determined by autopsy results.
“We believe we found Hania, but our work is far from over. We have to find out how she died and who did this to her. We have to bring the person responsible to justice,” FBI Supervisory Resident Agent Andy de la Rocha added.
Officials said they don’t have a suspect or person of interest at the time but are asking the public to help determine when and how the body was left. They are asking residents with video surveillance systems to save video recordings, even if they don’t see the vehicle or teen in the footage, and contact them at 910-272-5871.
On the morning of the abduction, a witness saw a man dressed in black and wearing a yellow bandana force Hania into the family vehicle, a green Ford Expedition that was found days later less than 10 miles from her home.
A $30,000 reward is still being offered for information that could lead to an arrest in the kidnapping.
“I would remind the public to always remain vigilant, no matter where they are and what they’re doing,” De la Rocha said. “We are continuing to follow up on all logical leads, looking at all the evidence we have recovered, and we continue to ask the public, through the media. We are still looking for help and assistance. There’s more information out there.”