Community honors Hania Aguilar on 14th birthday: ‘We know she’s looking down on us’

Community honors Hania Aguilar on 14th birthday: ‘We know she’s looking down on us’

ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) – The community honored a young girl on Thursday whose life was taken too soon.

March 21 would have been Hania Aguilar’s 14th birthday. A crowd of family, friends, members of the community and law enforcement gathered at Luther Britt Park to remember her. They wore the color purple, which was Hania’s favorite color.

The teenager was kidnapped Nov. 5 outside of her Lumberton home. Her body was found three weeks later.

VIDEO: Community sings "Happy Birthday" to Hania

Elizabeth Ortiz was friends with Hania and was touched by her kind heart.

“Her friends miss her, I miss her, we know she’s looking down on us,” Ortiz said.

Joyce Simmons has been following Hania’s case since she was first reported missing and has become close with the family. She said she knew she wanted to do something for her birthday.

“She is smiling. I prayed this morning, ‘Dear Lord, do not let it rain. Don’t let the wind blow. Please let the sunshine in.’ What has it been doing? It’s shining,” Simmons said.

VIDEO: Balloon release for Hania Aguilar's 14th birthday

“She would be happy to see all her firneds and family gathered up together and celebrate her birthday,” Ortiz said.

The crowd gathered around a birthday cake with the numbers "1″ and "4″ on it and sang “Happy Birthday” to Hania in English and Spanish. Then moments later the crowd released purple balloons in the air.

Michael Ray McLellan has been charged with ten felonies, including first-degree murder, first-degree forcible rape, first-degree kidnapping and concealment of death in connection to Hania’s murder.

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