Community leans on faith as search continues for Lumberton teen Hania Aguilar

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Hania Aguilar’s family and friends are leaning on their faith. They gathered at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Red Springs Friday for a prayer service.

The coordinator at the church, Juan Crovetto, said Hania’s mother called him on Monday morning from the police department and asked the congregation to pray for the 13-year-old’s safe return. That’s what they’ve been doing ever since.

“You don’t want that to happen to anybody,” Crovetto said.

The abduction happened just feet from Hania’s front door in the Rosewood Mobile Home Park Monday just before 7 a.m.

Investigators said the teen started the family SUV, preparing to head to school, when a man forced her into the vehicle and drove off. It hits close to home for many in this community. 

“Of course, you start thinking about your family. I have granddaughters and stuff like that. They do the same thing like Hania does,” Crovetto said.

St. Andrew’s holds a prayer service every Friday evening. Hania and her family usually attend. This week, though, the church family turned out in force, knowing they’d need the extra support. 

“We’re all here as a family. We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ, and without one person in our family here, it brings us down,” parishioner Raul Alvaraeo said.

Her family was too distraught to speak on camera.

The FBI said they’ve been cooperative, that it’s clear not knowing where or how Hania is has taken a toll. 

“We just have to work on faith and pray, pray,” Crovetto said.

The reward for information that leads to Hania’s location was increased to $20,000. Authorities are asking anyone with information to give them a call.

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