Robeson County District attorney Johnson Britt claims 13-year-old Hania Aguilar would still be alive if a 2016 rape case was handled differently.
Britt held a press conference Wednesday to discuss the connection on Michael McLellan and a rape case that was never followed through. “In all likely hood had this gone forward and had we established a case against him at that time, Hania would have not died,” said Britt.
Based on the DNA found inside the stolen vehicle and Hania’s body, McLellan’s DNA linked to an unsolved rape case, which a man broke into a woman’s home and raped her at knife point.
“When we discovered this we discussed, is there gap,” said Britt.
During the press conference the district attorney said the evidence was submitted to the lab in 2016, analyzed in 2017 and later the Sheriff’s department was notified on November 8 2017, but the evidence was allegedly mishandled.
“I don’t know if it got lost at the Sheriff’s department or buried on somebody desk, if it got placed in the record division and just vanished,” said Britt.
The information that was sent to the Sheriff’s office should have given them a reason to seek a search warrant and collect new DNA sample from McLellan, but according to Britt no one followed up.
“If it had been confirmed that it was him, he would’ve been arrested and charged with the rape, burglary, and the robbery that was indicted for Monday a week ago,” said Britt.
News13 reached out former Sheriff Sealy, but did not hear back. Stay with WBTW to bring you the latest updates on this story.