Robeson County community remembers Hania Aguilar two years later

State - Regional

LUMBERTON AREA, N.C. (WBTW) — Two years later, the story of Hania Aguilar still haunts the Robeson County area.

“I miss her. We all miss her. This whole community misses that little girl,” family friend Kimberly Gaugh said Thursday, two years after her kidnapping.

13-year-old Hania was kidnapped Nov. 5, 2018 from a yard in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park.

A body later identified as Hania’s was found off Wire Grass Road a few weeks later on Nov. 27.

“Hania was just a beautiful beautiful girl,” Gaugh said. “Taken way too soon. She should be here living a long joyful life.”

Gaugh is friends with Hania’s mother. Her daughter was a friend of Hania’s.

“Chloe’s not the same no more,” she said. “Chloe’s not cheerful anymore. She misses her.”

Michael McLellan was charged in December 2018 in her death.

He faces several charges, including murder, rape and kidnapping in her case. Prosecutors said last year they were seeking the death penalty.

“It’s been two years and this whole community wants to see justice and that’s why I’m here speaking today,” Gaugh said. “For this community we want to see justice served. It’s been two years.”

Lumberton city council member Columbus Howard Jr. agrees Hania’s murder has left a major mark on the community.

“When they found out that she was demised, a tremor went through the county,” he said.

He wants more resources put toward other cases as well.

“We need to have closer contact with the parents, family members of those who are missing,” the council member said.

Former DA Johnson Britt previously alleged that evidence was mishandled in a 2016 rape case that McLellan was later linked to. He said that if the case had been done differently, Hania’s death could have been avoided.

McLellan is in protective custody and the case has still not gone to trial. Hania’s mom told News13 Thursday ‘there is a mother who no longer waits for Thanksgiving or Christmas’ and the justice system failed her. She says the only thing she hopes for is justice.

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