ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Investigators involved with the search for Hania Aguilar say a body found less than 10 miles from where she was reportedly kidnapped nearly three weeks ago is believed to be the NC teen.
The body was found in a body of water off Wire Grass Road in Robeson County off around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.
“We are absolutely devastated. I wish we had a different outcome for Hania’s family,” Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Officials confirmed the body found was believed to be Hania but said they are still waiting on dental records, which will provide final confirmation.
“We believe we have found the body of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar,” McNeill said. “This is the outcome we all feared,” the FBI added.
Searchers were following leads related to the search when the discovery of the body was made.
Investigators have not said how Hania may have been killed, and no other information was released about the discovery. Officials said that information was being withheld pending the arrest of the person responsible.
The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Hania was last seen alive on the morning of November 5 waiting in front of her house in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park in Lumberton. The teen was waiting for her family to take her to school. Aguilar was forced into a family vehicle by an individual who a witness described as wearing all-black clothing and a yellow bandanna on his head. The man then reportedly sped off with the teen.
On Saturday, Nov. 24, officials had asked the public to be on the lookout for the specific type of shoes that Hania had been wearing and had noted that individuals with surveillance footage of areas including along Wire Grass Rd. should get in touch with them immediately.
The investigation is still active at this time.
“Please continue to pray for Hania, her family, & each other,” the FBI said.
The FBI continues asking for the public’s help identifying a man seen walking near the scene where Hania was kidnapped.
“Our work is not over. We will not stop,” the FBI said on Wednesday. “We will not stop until we find the person or person’s responsible and we bring them to justice. We will not stop until we do that.”