LUMBERTON, N.C. -- More than 1,000 people gathered at the Lumberton High School gym Saturday to remember Hania Aguilar, 13, who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered, according to WTVD.
Many expressed relief that an arrest had been made in her kidnapping and murder. Michael McLellan has been charged in connection with her death.
There were purple balloons, flowers and bows in the gym since purple was Hania's favorite color. The funeral service was held in English and Spanish with musical performances.
Some of her friends spoke on the podium, saying she is now in a place where "nobody can hurt you."
Friends said she loved to smile and laugh. Through tears, Joanna Delaluz, 14, recalled the last time she saw Hania.
"We were going to the bus stop and she was like, 'bye take care, I love you,'" Delaluz said. "I gave her a hug."
"I found out she got kidnapped and I never saw her again," said her friend Madison Bullock, 15, breaking down in tears. "She loved to talk with her friends and play on her phone, laugh, smile. We miss her smile."
Hania's father, Noe, was denied a temporary visa to attend her funeral from Guatemala but a letter from him was read aloud.
"Rest in peace, my princess," it said.
Hania's mother, Celsa Hernandez, cried over her little girl's casket and brought up her murderer.
"Whoever took my daughter's life, he took my daughter's life, not her happiness," Hernandez said.
Marines placed Hania's casket on a horse-drawn carriage as she was taken to her final resting place at Meadowbrook Cemetery in Lumberton.