In addition to the $25,000 reward offered by the FBI in connection with missing teen Hania Aguilar, North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper has offered a $5,000 reward for information that leads to her whereabouts. Yet, an FBI spokesperson warned of the dangers of spreading rumors on social media and how it’s not only affecting the search for the girl, but also her grieving family.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that Elsa Hernández, mother of the missing 13-year-old, issued a statement pleading for her daughter’s return and has also appeared on television, in hopes that spreading the word about Hania will help bring her home. In turn, numerous social media users have attacked the woman, which, according to FBI spokesperson Shelley Lynch, brings added stress to the teen’s loved ones.
“Every time a mother or a family member talks on TV about something like this, the bad side of social media comes out again. And that is stressful for her — for people to pick apart how she looks, and her reaction. It’s heartbreaking.”
Hernández has apparently seen or at least heard about the criticism on social media, but in a handwritten letter handed over to the FBI, said she would never give up hope on finding Hania.
“Despite all the criticism and speculation against me, I would never use my daughter’s name in order to take advantage of this situation,” Hernández said. “I ask everyone not to make absurd comments. For the love of God respect my pain. I only want Hania, my princess, back. I miss her.”
Instead of criticism on social media, authorities are asking the public to send in any tips that could help locate the teen.
“Return her to me because I miss her,”Hernández said last week to ABC11. “She’s a good, sweet girl…..I need her. I am suffering for her. Her sisters are too.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Hania vanished November 5 from her own driveway at the Rosewood Mobile Home Park in Lumberton. She walked outside at around 6:58 a.m. to start her aunt’s SUV up, when an unknown man wearing all black clothing and a yellow bandana over his face approached her and forced her into the vehicle before driving it away.
Police found the vehicle abandoned a few days later, off of Quincey Drive in Lumberton after someone called 911 after spotting it. The FBI’s evidence response team is processing the vehicle for evidence.
Meanwhile, authorities are asking anyone in the area with surveillance cameras to look closely for anything that may be of interest in the case. Investigators are looking for a man wearing a hoodie, a light shirt, and light shoes walking toward the Rosewood Mobile Home Park on the same morning and around the time the young girl was kidnapped.
Investigators said that the man is not considered a suspect at this time, but he’s someone authorities would like to speak with in case he saw anything or anyone that morning.
“He’s just someone we want to speak with,” FBI supervisory senior resident agent, C Andrew de la Rocha, said.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) reports that Hania is described as a Hispanic female with black hair and brown eyes. She stand 5-feet tall and weighs around 126 pounds. She was last seen wearing a blue shirt with flower prints and blue jeans.
McNeil said that authorities are desperately seeking the public’s help in finding the missing girl.
“We urgently need the public’s help. We need them more now than ever to find Hania and bring her back.”
Anyone with any information is urged to contact the special tip line set up solely for Hania, at 910-272-5871.
[Feature Photo: Hania Aguilar/Handout]