LUMBERTON, N.C. (WNCN) — The man charged with kidnapping, raping and murdering 13-year-old Lumberton girl Hania Aguilar made his first in Robeson County court Monday morning.
Michael Ray McLellan, 34, is facing 10 felony charges in connection with Aguilar’s death.
In court, McLellan wore a bulletproof vest as he stood before the judge.
Some members of Hania’s family were in attendance for the suspect’s appearance. They sobbed at the charges were read aloud.
District Attorney Luther Johnson Britt said McLellan has been appointed an attorney.
“He was indicted by a grand jury last Monday,” the district attorney said.
He is being held without bond in Hania’s death.
Britt said McLellan became a suspect in Hania’s disappearance after the stolen SUV was found.
There was sufficient evidence to charge McLellan at that time but they needed to more to go on to get a conviction, Britt said.
The district attorney said McLellan did not confess to the murder while in custody.
McLellan also appeared in Superior Court Monday in connection with a 2016 rape.
The investigation into Hania’s death led authorities to connect McLellan to the 2016 rape of a Hispanic woman, Britt said.
He was given a $5 million bond in the 2016 rape case.
McClellan is due back in court Dec. 21 for the Hania case and on Jan. 7 for the rape case.
McLellan was already in custody in connection with an attempted robbery in Fairmont in October when the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced his arrest in the Aguilar case on Dec. 8.
McLellan was already in custody after being charged on Nov. 13 in connection with an Oct. 15 attempted robbery in Fairmont, court documents show.
Warrants say McLellan was wearing a mask and armed with a gun when he tried to steal money and a car from a woman.
He surrendered to authorities and was charged with attempted robbery and second-degree kidnapping.
The FBI said Hania was kidnapped when she was forced into an SUV outside her home in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park on Nov. 5.
Her body was found Nov. 27.
That SUV was recovered Nov. 8 and underwent a forensic exam at the FBI’s lab at Quantico near Washington.
The North Carolina State Crime Lab returned information gained from tests on Aguilar’s body on Dec. 7.
Those test results led to the arrest of McLellan, the FBI said.
McLellan faces 10 felony charges in connection with Hania’s kidnapping and death:
- 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
- Concealment of a death
The FBI said more charges could be filed in the case.
Nearly 1,000 people gathered for Aguilar’s funeral this past weekend, which occurred just hours after the FBI announced McLellan’s arrest.
McLellan is currently being held without bond.