Man charged with killing 13-year-old Hania Aguilar in Robeson County

Corrected at 12:16 p.m. Dec. 10, 2018. See details in story.

A man released from prison in June and still under post-release supervision has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of 13-year-old Hania Noelia Aguilar, officials announced Saturday.

Michael Ray McLellan, 34, was in law enforcement custody on unrelated charges at the time of his arrest, according to an FBI news release.

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Michael Ray McLellan Robeson County Sheriff's Office

He is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree forcible rape, statutory rape of a person under 15 years of age or younger, first-degree sexual offense, statutory sex offense with a person 15 years or younger, first-degree kidnapping, felony larceny, felony restraint, abduction of child and concealment of a death.

Aguilar had been missing since Nov. 5, when authorities say she was forced into a family member’s idling SUV and kidnapped from her driveway in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park in Lumberton.

850 leads followed

The Lumberton Police Department and FBI followed more than 850 leads and conducted nearly 500 interviews, according to the news release. The federal agency’s laboratory at Quantico examined the stolen SUV, which was recovered Nov. 8.

On Nov. 28 authorities identified a body found in Robeson County as the kidnapped girl. Lumberton police detectives and FBI agents had discovered the body in an area near Wire Grass Road in Lumberton about the previous afternoon, the FBI said in a news release.

“We’re absolutely devastated,” Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeil said during a news conference Nov. 28. “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.”

The N.C. State Crime Lab provided preliminary test results on Aguilar’s body, which helped lead to the current charges, according to the news release.

An autopsy will determine cause of death, McNeil said.

Past convictions

McLellan was convicted in February on 2017 charges of felony breaking and entering and larceny of a motor vehicle, according to state records. He was sentenced to between 9 months and 1 year and 8 months months in prison.

With credit for time served, McLellan was released in June and placed under post-release supervision. He was scheduled to continue reporting to a probation officer until March 2019.

In 2007, he was convicted on 2005 charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and first-degree burglary. He was sentenced to between 10 years and 12 years and 9 months in prison, records show.

McLellan is being held in the Robeson County Detention Center without bail. He will have his first court appearance at the Robeson County Courthouse on Monday.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges are possible, the news release said.

This article has been corrected to say McClellan was on post-release supervision when he was charged in Aguilar’s death. The initial article mislabeled his status.

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Mark Schultz is the deputy metro editor for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He has been an editor, reporter and photographer in North Carolina for 30 years.