A 34-year-old man is facing murder, forcible rape, kidnapping and other charges in connection with the disappearance of 13-year-old Hania Noelia Aguilar from Lumberton, North Carolina. The news comes as Aguilar’s father, a Guatemalan citizen, was denied a U.S. visa and missed his daughter’s Saturday funeral.
The charges against suspect Michael Ray McLellan were released by the FBI on Saturday. Prior to his arrest, McLellan was being held in custody on unrelated charges, according to the FBI.
Despite tens of thousands of signatures on a Change.org petition calling on U.S. agencies to allow Hania Aguilar’s father to attend his daughter’s funeral, Noé Aguilar was not granted a visa, Naimeh Salem, a Texas immigration lawyer, confirmed to USA TODAY in a Saturday email.
Noé Aguilar was denied requests for a second interview and humanitarian parole, Salem said in a written statement.
Hania Aguilar’s funeral was Saturday at Lumberton High School, ABC11 WTVD reports. A video of the event shows purple balloons and bows decorating the venue as a large crowd gathered for a bilingual service.