DA: Evidence linking suspect to 2016 rape was overlooked

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Michael Ray McLellan_1543414866838.jpg_63458810_ver1.0_640_360_OP_1_CP__1544260912045.jpg_64558650_ver1.0_640_360_1544624304129.jpg.jpg

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina district attorney says authorities last year didn’t investigate DNA evidence linking a 2016 rape to a man accused in the recent slaying of a teenage girl.

The News & Observer reports Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt said Tuesday that an investigation into the DNA linking Michael Ray McLellan to the 2016 rape “fell through the cracks.”

McLellan is charged with raping and killing 13-year-old Hania Noelia Aguilar, who was kidnapped from outside her Lumberton home in November. Her body was found weeks later.

Investigators said Monday that DNA was essential in linking McLellan to Hania’s death. Britt says that DNA was matched to DNA evidence already linked to a 2016 rape in which a man broke into a woman’s home and raped her at knifepoint.

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