CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) - Ten days after someone kidnapped Hania Aguilar from the yard outside her Lumberton home, officials with the FBI have upped the reward for information to $25,000.
Lumberton police and the FBI said they have not given up on locating the missing 13-year-old teen, an eighth-grader at Lumberton Junior High School.
“We have no physical evidence, nothing to indicate that she is anything but alive,” authorities said during a Tuesday press conference.
She was abducted on Nov. 5 by a man dressed in black and wearing a yellow bandana while she was standing outside her family’s home in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park, at 3525 E. Elizabethtown Road.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s office is offering an additional $5,000 for information that leads to Hania, or an arrest.
Investigators are still looking for a man who was captured on a security cameras around the time the teenager was kidnapped.
The family’s green SUV used in the abduction was located Friday in the woods off Quincey Drive, which is about about 10 miles from where the teenager was kidnapped.
Authorities said they don’t know if Aguilar and her kidnapper have crossed state lines, but they’re investigating all possibilities. Late Tuesday, there was a report of a possible sighting of Aguilar in Charlotte, but authorities said there is no reason to believe the report is accurate.
“We’re following all logical leads, no matter what city or state they take us to, but we just don’t know,” said Andy de la Rocha with the FBI.
Authorities said that fake tips and rumors on social media sites are hampering the investigation and urged people to stop spreading rumors.
“Please, please don’t do that. Give us the information we really need. Don’t place it on social media,” Lumberton Police Chief Michael McMillian said.
Hania’s mother issued a statement on Tuesday and pleaded for her daughter’s safe return:
“I trust in God that my daughter will return. No one knows the pain I have in my heart. Despite all the criticism and speculation against me, I would never use my daughter’s name in order to take advantage of this situation. I thank all those people who have provided me help. Please, if you know something, call. I ask everyone not to make absurd comments. For the love of God respect my pain. I only want Hania, my princess, back. I miss her.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI’s tip line at 910-272-5871.