A body has been found as crews search for a missing 13-year-old girl in North Carolina who was kidnapped, the sheriff says.
The body was found Tuesday afternoon, according to Sheriff Ken Sealey, with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.
Shelley Lynch, with the FBI Charlotte Division, says the body was found around 4:45 p.m. by FBI Agents and Lumberton Police Department detectives.
“The body has not been positively identified, but investigators with the FBI, Lumberton PD, the SBI, and the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office were following leads related to the search for 13-year-old Hania Aguilar when the discovery was made,” Lynch said. “Out of an abundance of caution, investigators have notified Hania’s family, but again no confirmation has been made of the identity of the body found. Please continue to pray for Hania, her family, and each other as the investigation continues to find out who kidnapped Hania and hold them responsible.”
Hania was kidnapped from a mobile home park on November 5.
WBTW’s Nexstar Media sister station, CBS17, spoke to a Robeson County resident who was in the area when investigators found the body.
Anita Hunt said she saw investigators in a wooded area, putting yellow crime tape up.
Although the identity of the body has not been determined, Hunt said she immediately thought of Hania: “It’s hard. She’s 13, you know, she’s a baby and everywhere I go I’m looking and you can’t help it…Let’s pray. Let’s pray for this family– if it’s her, let’s pray for this family that they’ll get closure now.”
Late Tuesday, Lynch said the body had been removed from the scene by officials and is on the way to the state crime lab in Raleigh for identification and an autopsy. There is no time frame for when a positive identification will be made, according to Lynch.
The FBI says it continues its investigation.
Previously, the FBI asked for any video surveillance that anyone may have from the area near where Hania was last seen. That included Wire Grass Road, where the body was found Tuesday.
On Saturday, FBI agents released photos of the shoes Hania was wearing when she disappeared.
The combined reward for information leading to Hania’s location, or to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible, was increased to $30,000 earlier in the month.