Robeson County, NC – Human remains discovered in a body of water in the North Carolina woods have been preliminarily identified as the body of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar.
Aguilar was kidnapped by an unidentified attacker on Nov. 5, as she was starting her aunt’s green 2002 Ford Expedition outside their Rosewood Mobile Home Park residence at 6:58 a.m., ABC News reported.
The suspect, who was dressed in black and had a yellow bandana over his face, then forced the girl into the Expedition and sped away with the vehicle.
Hania’s sister, eight-year-old Heylin Perez, told WRAL that her aunt told Hania not to go outside to start the vehicle, but that she did it anyway.
“She just got the keys and started to turn it on,” Heylin told the news outlet. “And somewhere out of nowhere the man came in and took her away.”
She said she heard her sister screaming as the man abducted her.
Several days later, the Expedition was found abandoned just miles away from the eighth grader’s home, the New York Post reported.
“This is the outcome we all feared. We did not want to hear this,” Lumberton Police Chief Mike McNeill said during a press conference on Wednesday. “We wanted to bring Hania back home and bring her back home alive… It hurts.”
Chief McNeill confirmed that officials from the State Medical Examiner’s Office said “preliminary tests indicate the body that they found is Hania’s.””
A final determination will be made using the teen’s dental records, and a cause of death will be determined during autopsy, according to the New York Post.
The missing teen’s body was found at about 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday in a body of water in the woods approximately 10 miles south of her home, WRAL reported.
Police would not say whether or not the body was concealed, but said it could not be seen from the roadway, according to the New York Post.
The FBI has processed hundreds of leads in the search for Aguilar, but police do not currently have any suspects, Chief McNeill said.
“We are absolutely devastated,” the chief told reporters. “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.”
A $30,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest is still being offered.