'It angers me': New Robeson County Sheriff speaks exclusively to ABC11 about overlooked evidence in Hania Aguilar's murder case

ABC11 Raleigh-Durham | 12/22/2018 | jonah kaplan, abc11 anchors, wtvd anchors, abc11 reporters, wtvd reporters, wtvd talent, veteran, raleigh news, durham news, fayetteville news
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LUMBERTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- The newly-elected Robeson County Sheriff is revealing new details about a missed warning that could have kept an accused murderer behind bars.

In an exclusive interview with the ABC11 I-Team, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins confirms at least two members of the sheriff's office knew about DNA evidence linking Michael McClellan to an old rape case more than a year before McClellan allegedly kidnapped and murdered Hania Aguilar.

Wilkins - Reports - Channels - Investigation - Interviews

"It angers me and I've got to deal with it," Wilkins said. "To know that that happened, to know the reports didn't follow the proper channels, that further investigation wasn't done, interviews weren't done properly -- I have a major issue with that."

Wilkins was sworn-in as sheriff on Dec. 3; his lengthy resume includes positions with the Lumberton Police Department, the NC Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Marshal's Task Force.

Responsibility - Wilkins - Nothing - Bottom

"Do I take responsibility for what happened? I wasn't here," Wilkins said. "But I have put it out there publicly -- there's nothing going to be hidden. We're going to get to the bottom of it."

Investigators say 13-year-old Hania Aguilar was abducted from outside of her home Nov. 5. The frantic search to bring her home ended Nov. 27 when authorities found her body in Robeson County.

McLellan - Charges - Kidnapping - Rape - Murder

McLellan faces charges of kidnapping, rape and murder in her case.

McLellan had been in custody since Nov. 13, when he was arrested on charges stemming from a case unrelated to Hania's murder or the 2016 rape.

Arrest - Warrant - McLellan - Possession - Firearm

According to that arrest warrant, McLellan was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, second-degree kidnapping and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon stemming from an incident on Oct. 15 in which he allegedly pointed a gun at a woman and attempted to steal her car and money.

District Attorney Johnson Britt told ABC11 at the time that McLellan's...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ABC11 Raleigh-Durham
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