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FBI identifies body found in Lumberton as Hania Aguilar

The FBI Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, released an updated photo of Hania Aguilar, the 13-year-old Lumberton girl who was abducted earlier this week. (Credit: FBI)

Law enforcement says they believe a body found Tuesday in Robeson County is that of Hania Aguilar, the 13-year-old Lumberton girl who was kidnapped more than three weeks ago.

“We are absolutely devastated. I wish we had a different outcome for Hania’s family, for the community, and for the hundreds of law enforcement officers and searchers who put everything they had into finding her alive,” said Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill.

Chief McNeill said preliminary tests indicated the body found Tuesday is, in fact, Hania. An autopsy is being conducted to further confirm the identity via dental records.

"Last night, I had to explain to Hania's mother what we had found," said Andy de la Rocha, senior supervisory resident agent, FBI.

While following a lead related to the search for Hania, investigators found a body near a trailer off Wire Grass Road in Lumberton. The area is not visible from the road, de la Rocha said. The scene is a little over three miles from where the stolen SUV was recovered.

Asked about the location where Hania's body was found, de la Rocha said it was not obvious a body was present, and while her body was found in a body of water, de la Rocha wouldn't use the term pond.

Investigators would not describe the condition of the body. De la Rocha said he did not have any information as to whether Hania was killed where she was found or elsewhere.

De la Rocha said there is no person of interest nor a suspect in the case at this time.

"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," de la Rocha said.

"There's evidence at the scene and tips from the public and CCTV footage and otherwise-- all of it will help piece together what happened to Hania," de la Rocha said.

But, the FBI is asking for the public to help to determine how and when the body was placed on Wire Grass Road. Anyone with surveillance video of any kind in that area is asked to call the tip line at 910-272-5871.

Law enforcement again pleaded with the public to stop spreading rumors on social media. The focus now is on finding out how she died and finding out who's responsible.

The reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for her kidnapping is $30,000-- $25K from the FBI and another $5,000 from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's Office.

Hania was abducted just before 7 a.m. outside her home in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park.

Witnesses reported seeing a man dressed in all black and a yellow bandana forcing Hania into an SUV. She hadn't been seen or heard from since.

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