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A body found in North Carolina, just 10 miles away from where a 13-year-old girl was kidnapped from her home, has been preliminarily identified as that teen.
The body was discovered by authorities on Tuesday and one day later Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill announced at a news conference that the body is likely missing Hania Noelia Aguilar. Although police believe the body is hers, they are waiting upon dental records to make a final determination, the Associated Press reports.
“This is the outcome that we all feared,” McNeill said. “We did not want to hear this. We wanted to bring Hania back home and bring her back home alive to our community. It hurts.”
McNeil said she was found in a body of water just 10 miles south of the mobile home park where she was grabbed by a man dressed in black with a yellow bandana over his face.
Aguilar went missing on Nov. 5. That morning, she was in the front yard of her home waiting for her family to bring her to school. She had her aunt's car keys and was on her way to start up the vehicle when witnesses say the kidnapper forced her into her aunt's SUV and drove off, according to local police. The SUV connected to the teen’s abduction was found in a wooded area earlier this month but there was no sign of Aguilar for weeks.
The cause of death for the body preliminarily identified as the teen as not yet been released.
McNeill promised police will bring whoever is responsible for the death of the eighth-grader to justice. As of now though, there is no known suspect or person of interest.
The FBI has offered a reward of up to $25,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who kidnapped the teen.
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