Body found near area where authorities were searching for Hania Aguilar

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ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW/WNCN) – A body was found in Robeson County, the sheriff says. 

The body was found off Wire Grass Road around 5:30 p.m., according to Sheriff Ken Sealey, with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. 

Wire Grass Road is one of the roads where authorities searched for Hania Aguilar. The 13-year-old was abducted in Lumberton more than three weeks ago.

“The body has not been positively identified, but investigators with the FBI, Lumberton PD, the SBI, and the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office were following leads related to the search for 13-year-old Hania Aguilar when the discovery was made,” read a release from the FBI.

The FBI said Aguilar’s family has been notified “out of an abundance of caution.”

Aguilar’s mother and other family members gathered at the Lumberton Police Department Tuesday night, waiting on developments in the case. Her mother, visibly distraught, was led away in an ambulance. 

The FBI said that the last three weeks have taken a toll on the family.

Authorities had an extensive perimeter set up and the area was blocked off. A neighbor was able to give CBS 17’s Colleen Quigley a description of the area where investigators were working.

“On one side, it’s a wooded area. On the other … it’s a creek with a little house, but on the side (investigators) were on, it’s a wooded area,” said Anita Hunt. “The little girl that’s been missing, that’s all that goes through my mind since she’s been missing.”

The neighborhood has been on constant alert in the three weeks since Aguilar was kidnapped.

“She’s 13. She’s a baby,” Hunt said. “Everywhere I go, I’m looking. You can’t help it.”

“I’m hoping that it’s not her,” neighbor Annie Hall added. She said her son played with Aguilar and that she was well known and loved by many in the neighborhood.

Kids haven’t been playing outside nearly as much since Aguilar’s abduction. 

“She used to be in the neighborhood, play with the kids, basketball out in the yard. All the kids would play out in the yard,” Hall said. “There was never a problem like this before.”

The FBI said that the body recovered was removed from the scene by officials and is being taken to the state crime lab in Raleigh for identification and an autopsy. “There is no time frame for when a positive identification will be made,” it said.

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