Autopsy: Asphyxia was likely cause of kidnapped girl's death

Posted at 12:52 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 12:52:31-05

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) — A kidnapped 13-year-old North Carolina likely died of suffocation or strangulation, but her cause of death couldn't be determined conclusively.

The state's Office of the Chief Medical examiner ruled that Hania Aguilar died of undetermined "homicidal violence." The autopsy released Wednesday says she most likely died of some form of asphyxia because other causes of death were ruled out.

The autopsy notes her decomposing body was found late last November in a body of water. The autopsy also found signs of sexual violence.

Hania had disappeared earlier in the month from a mobile home park when she went outside to start a relative's SUV before school. Scores of people joined an intensive search that garnered national attention.

Michael Ray McLellan faces rape, murder and other charges in Hania's death.