Investigator fired, another resigns over man charged in Hania Aguilar murder

LUMBERTON, NC (WITN) - Two veteran deputies are now off the job after an internal investigation into overlooked DNA evidence of the man charged in the Hania Aguilar case in Robeson County.

Sheriff Burnis Wilkins announced this morning that he fired Investigator Darryl McPhatter, while Major Anthony Thompson has resigned.

The two men were suspended last month after it was revealed that deputies didn't follow up on DNA that linked Michael McLellan to a 2016 rape in the county.

McLellan was charged with the November 5th kidnapping and murder of the 13-year-old girl as she waited outside her home for a family member to take her to school.

The district attorney said that McLellan should have been in jail on the 2016 rape accusations and never had a chance to kidnap Aguilar.

"The dedicated men and women of the Robeson County Sheriff's Office are proud public servants," the sheriff said in a statement. "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."