LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) - The father of the North Carolina teen that was kidnapped and later found dead has been denied a visa to attend her funeral, according to family attorney Naimeh Salem.
Hania Aguilar, 13, was kidnapped from outside her Lumberton home on November 5. A body found off Wire Grass Road on November 27 is believed to be that of Aguilar. According to the FBI, there is no time frame for when a positive identification will be made.
Salem said the father’s expedited visa request was denied. The U.S. State Department says he does not have enough “ties” to Guatemala to receive visa approval, according to Salem. Bank accounts, business assets and family work history help show ties to a country. The ties show the U.S. Government a visa applicant has reasons to return to their native country, Salem noted.
“In the past, these type of requests were granted immediately in situations like these when a daughter is murdered or if there was a really sick immediate family member. But with this government, the current administration, we’re seeing more and more denials in anything that is discretionary.”
An online petition was posted to Change.org urging immigration officials to let Aguilar’s father attend her funeral has over 50,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
If the request is not approved soon, it is unlikely he will be attending Saturday’s funeral.