Dozens attend vigil for Hania Aguilar as Lumberton community hopes for justice


The news of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar’s disappearance and death affected many throughout North Carolina, but especially in Lumberton where she lived. 

Sunday, many friends and strangers came together to honor her at a vigil at Luther Britt Park in Lumberton. 

“You might have took her away, but we’re still here,” Lumberton resident Casey Oxendine said. “Her name’s still going to live.”

Dozens wore wearing Aguilar’s favorite color, purple, while holding each other and keeping the teen in their hearts.

“I happened just to be sitting on the bed, and just got cold chills all over my body,” Casey Oxendine said, talking about what inspired her to organize the vigil. “I have two nieces. It hit home for me too. Just to see the love this baby has brought to us, and how much support we can show her mama, just overwhelms me so much.”

Helen Simmons knew Hania Aguilar, who was kidnapped Nov. 5 and found dead last week. 

“Everyday I had seen her, she was smiling [and] grinning. She didn’t have a sad face on her.” Simmons said. “I have an 18-year-old daughter that’s scared to go out by herself at night. I’m scared for her. I’m completely scared for her to go anywhere.”

Those showing support also included Khelia Oxendine. 

She and her family are also looking for answers after her sister, Megan Oxendine, was one of three women found dead in Lumberton in 2017.

Megan spoke with CBS 17 months before her death. 

“It’s just keeping it alive, where nobody won’t forget, because my family’s been taking it hard too,” Khelia Oxendine said.  

But through tears and pain came motivation working to bring Hania’s family peace, and hoping to see justice soon. 

“We know we can’t bring Hania back, we know that,” Casey Oxendine said. “But showing somebody that you love them, or just anything like that, will bring any kind of comfort to anybody.”

Hania Aguilar’s funeral is planned for Saturday. 

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