ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) – Over 500 pages of unsealed documents reveal the case against Michael McLellan, the man charged in connection with the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar.
Within those documents are details about a 2016 rape case that McLellan is accused in. Just last month, one veteran employee of the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office was fired while another resigned following an internal investigation into a “failure in the system” that allowed evidence tying McLellan to a rape case to be missed.
According to the documents, the RCSO received a call regarding a rape that occurred on Resa Loop Drive in the Lumberton area on Oct. 16, 2016. The victim told authorities that while she was sleeping, someone removed the air conditioning unit from her living room window and entered the home.
The victim said the person had a knife and raped her.
“During the incident, the victim said that the person asked her if she knew who he was or if she had ever seen him before,” the documents state. “During the course of the investigation, DNA was collected from the victim as evidence.”
Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt previously said deputies didn’t follow up after DNA evidence linked McLellan to the 2016 rape.
In October 2017, the North Carolina crime lab found a ‘hit’ in the federal database connecting McLellan’s DNA to a 2016 rape kit.
He said since McLellan had previous convictions his DNA was already in the system. When there’s a hit the lab notifies the DA’s office and the investigating agency. In this case, it was the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.
Britt said somehow the evidence fell through the cracks.
Aguilar went missing on Nov. 5, 2018. McLellan’s DNA was reportedly found in the SUV tied to the 13-year-old’s abduction.
According to the case documents released on Thursday, the DNA evidence collected in Aguilar’s kidnapping allowed investigators to create a DNA profile on McLellan. That profile was entered into a database that can be compared to other unsolved crimes.
The FBI laboratory got a hit in the 2016 rape, showing the DNA in that case matched McLellan’s, the documents state.
Britt previously admitted that had a follow-up been made, Aguilar, whose body was found weeks after her disappearance, may still be alive.
In December, Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins announced that an internal affairs investigation had begun in reference to the 2016 incident.
Based on that investigation, Wilkins fired Inv. Darryl McPhatter, a 10-year veteran of the RCSO. Days earlier, Maj. Anthony Thompson, who had served more than 34 years in law enforcement, submitted his resignation and retirement letter.
McLellan remains in jail after being charged with 10 felonies in connection with Aguilar’s death, including first-degree murder, first-degree forcible rape and first-degree kidnapping.
According to the documents tied to the investigation, one of the things investigators looked at were McLellan’s social media accounts. He has four different Facebook pages, all of which have photos that match the suspect.
Those photos include full shots of his chest and back tattoos, and clear images of his face.
On one of those Facebook pages are dozens of comments from users expressing outrage over the crimes McLellan is accused of committing.
One user wrote, “Why man? What porn were you watching that made you do this? How can we use your story to stop someone from becoming like you?”