Man charged with killing Ha­nia Aguilar was on pa­role

The Herald-Sun (Sunday) - - News - BY MARK SCHULTZ AND AB­BIE BEN­NETT [email protected]­sob­ aben­[email protected]­sob­

A man re­leased from prison in June and still on pa­role 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.

He is charged with first­de­gree 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, first­de­gree 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.


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.


McLel­lan was con­victed in Fe­bru­ary 2017 on charges of felony break­ing and en­ter­ing and lar­ceny of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle, ac­cord­ing to state records. He was sen­tenced to be­tween nine months and 1 year and 8 months months in prison and was re­leased on pa­role in June. His pa­role was to ex­pire in 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 and re­leased on pa­role in Fe­bru­ary 2016, 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.

Michael Ray McLel­lan

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