Dad of slain girl de­nied visa for fu­neral

The News & Observer - - Triangle & N.c. - BY CHARLES DUN­CAN AND ABBIE BEN­NETT cdun­[email protected]­ aben­[email protected]­sob­

Ser­vices for Ha­nia Aguilar, the 13-year-old girl kid­napped and mur­dered in Lumberton, North Carolina are set for to­day. But her Gu­atemalan fa­ther will not be al­lowed into the United States to at­tend the fu­neral, WPDE re­ports.

The man’s at­tor­ney, Naimeh Salem, told WSOC that de­spite a widely cir­cu­lated pe­ti­tion and the North Carolina gov­er­nor step­ping in, im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties de­nied the visa.

“They said he doesn’t have enough ties to the coun­try to is­sue him a tem­po­rary visa to go to Ha­nia’s fu­neral,” he told WSOC.

A pe­ti­tion on the site col­lected more than 51,000 sig­na­tures as of Thurs­day.

“The prob­lem is Slain and Mur­dered Ha­nia Aguilar’s fa­ther is in Gu­atemala and he needs per­mis­sion to be Ex­pe­dited to the United States in order to see his daugh­ter one last time, say his good­byes and at­tend her fu­neral. No par­ent should be de­nied the right to at­tend their child’s fu­neral- es­pe­cially when Ha­nia was a Ci­ti­zen-born in Ten­nessee,” the pe­ti­tion started by Monique Ce­s­pedes reads.

Ha­nia, a Lumberton Ju­nior High School stu­dent, was wait­ing out­side her home to get a ride to school from her fam­ily. Just be­fore 7 a.m., she was forced into a run­ning SUV parked in the drive­way, a rel­a­tive’s car, po­lice said. A wit­ness heard the girl scream and saw a man wear­ing black clothes and a yel­low ban­dana force her into the SUV and drive away, po­lice said.

The FBI says it is still await­ing of­fi­cial iden­ti­fi­ca­tion by den­tal records, The News & Ob­server pre­vi­ously re­ported.

“We are all heart­bro­ken,” said FBI se­nior su­per­vi­sory spe­cial agent Andy De­larocha the day af­ter the body was dis­cov­ered, adding that in­ves­ti­ga­tors have yet to dis­cover how Ha­nia died and who is re­spon­si­ble for her death.

“Last night I had to stand in front of Ha­nia’s mother and tell her what we had found,” De­larocha said, plead­ing with the pub­lic to con­tinue to call 910-272-5871 with tips for law en­force­ment.

Lumberton po­lice and the FBI are still look­ing for a sus­pect. There is a $30,000 re­ward for help find­ing who kid­napped and mur­dered Ha­nia.

Peo­ple con­tin­ued to add their names to the pe­ti­tion Thurs­day, which is ad­dressed to the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, the Gu­atemalan Em­bassy, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, among oth­ers.

Peo­ple left notes of sup­port for Ha­nia’s fa­ther on the on­line pe­ti­tion site. “Its the right thing to do. He needs to be here to say good bye to his daugh­ter that had her life taken by a self­ish per­son,” Diane Cham­pion wrote.

Pa­tri­cia Cote said, “Com­pas­sion is al­low­ing a par­ent to at­tend their child’s fu­neral. Treat oth­ers as you would like to be treated in the same sit­u­a­tion. Use your heart and not fear as a guide­line.”

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