ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. – The FBI and Lumberton Police arrested a man for kidnapping and killing 13-year-old Hania Aguilar.
Michael Ray McLellan, 34, went before a state magistrate at the Robeson County Detention Center early Saturday and is being held there with no bond. He has been charged with 10 felonies, including first degree murder and statutory rape of a person under age 15.
Aguilar was kidnapped from outside her Lumberton, North Carolina home at the Rosewood Mobile Home Park. She was waiting for the rest of her family to come outside and drive to school the morning of November 5 when someone snatched her and drove off in her family’s idling SUV.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert at the time.
A witness saw a man dressed in black and wearing a yellow bandanna force Hania into the vehicle. Police said they have no reason to think Hania knew her abductor, and her family was cooperating with the investigation.
The stolen SUV was found abandoned less than 10 miles from Hania’s home, authorities said.
Her body was found about three weeks later in water off a nearby rural road.
Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday.
Aguilar’s dad denied visa to attend her funeral
When Aguilar is laid to rest in North Carolina, her father will be nearly 3,000 miles away.
The US State Department has denied a temporary visa for Noé Aguilar to travel from Guatemala to attend services for his teenage daughter, according to the father’s attorney.
“I had hoped they would find it in their hearts to let me be there for my daughter’s funeral,” Aguilar told CNN in a brief phone interview Friday.
“It’s very sad. She was my princess. She will always be my princess.”
Immigration attorney Naimeh Salem said US embassy officials in Guatemala denied the temporary visa on grounds that Aguilar “didn’t have enough ties to his home country, Guatemala.”
“That is not true,” she said. “He has family there and his own business.”
NC governor asks US ambassador to reconsider
Salem said her client has requested another visa interview but has not heard back from US embassy officials in Guatemala.
State Department spokeswoman Marlo Cross-Durant said details of individual visa cases are confidential.
“All visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and other applicable laws,” her statement said.
“The Department of State makes every effort to facilitate legitimate travel by international visitors. We are also fully committed to administering U.S. immigration law and ensuring the integrity and security of our country’s borders.”
In a letter, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper asked the US ambassador in Guatemala to reconsider the visa application decision so Hania’s family “can properly mourn their lost child in this tragic and extraordinary case.”
“As you can imagine, the family is devastated by the loss of such a promising young lady who was loved (by) her family, friends and was one of the top students in her class,” wrote Cooper.
Additionally, about 10,000 people have signed a petition in support of the father’s visa request, according to CNN affiliate WSOC.
McLellan will make his first court appearance is expected Monday morning.