2 Robeson County deputies off the job following investigation

2 Robeson County deputies off the job following investigation
Michael McLellan (Source: WNCN)

LUMBERTON, NC (WNCN) - Two Robeson County deputies are off the job after they were suspended pending an internal investigation of rape case that is connected to the kidnapping, murder and rape of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar.

Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said on Jan. 9, Major Anthony Thompson submitted a retirement letter while Investigator Darryl McPhatter resigned.

However, based on the findings of the investigation, Wilkins fired McPhatter from the sheriff's office on Thursday, the sheriff's office announced.

“The dedicated men and women of the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office are proud public servants. My expectations of them are to serve the public with the utmost respect and to the best of their ability as trained law enforcement professionals,” Wilkins said.

Thompson previously served as the Chief of Detectives under former sheriff Kenneth Sealey who recently retired.

Thompson was a 34-year veteran of the sheriff's office, Wilkins said.

McPhatter was a 10-year veteran of the sheriff's office assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit, according to Wilkins.

As CBS 17 has previously reported, the man accused in the Aguilar case, Michael McLellan, 34, is also a suspect in that 2016 rape.

Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt said earlier in December that if the sheriff’s office had investigated the 2016 case, it’s likely McLellan would have been behind bars and Aguilar would still be alive.

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