While authorities have released few details on the sudden reappearance of Abigail Hernandez earlier this week, they provided a sketch Thursday of a man they are seeking information about in connection with the case.
Hernandez was reported missing after leaving Kennett High School in Conway, New Hampshire on the afternoon of October 9, 2013, days before her 15th birthday. She was seen walking near the school around 2:35 p.m. and there were several unconfirmed sightings in the area in the hour after that, but then she disappeared.
Law enforcement officials announced Monday that Hernandez was “safely reunited with her family” on Sunday evening, but they did not release any information about the circumstances surrounding her return.
According to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, the sketch is based on a description Hernandez provided of a man in a navy blue pick-up truck believed to have driven her away from North-South Road in Conway between 2:20 and 3:00 p.m. on October 9.
The man is described as being slightly taller than 5’4” and having darkish skin, dark brown eyes, black stubble facial hair and a large build.
In a press release, investigators said they are working to determine whether this man or others took Abigail against her will, detained her or concealed her whereabouts for the last nine months. They noted that the then-14-year-old did not have any known means to facilitate her own disappearance or provide herself with food and shelter for months.
It is a felony in New Hampshire to take, entice, detain, or conceal a child who is unrelated by blood, and prosecutors insisted that “all appropriate charges will be brought” if evidence is found that any crime occurred.
Attorney General Joseph Foster said in a statement accompanying the sketch, “We are all pleased Abigail was returned safely to her family. Law enforcement officers must now obtain satisfactory answers to the questions surrounding the facts and circumstances of Abigail's disappearance and nine month absence. The individual or individuals who were involved with her disappearance and absence will now have to face the consequences of any unlawful actions.”
Earlier in the week, investigators also released photographs of black pants and a striped sweater that appeared to closely resemble the clothing Hernandez was last seen wearing in October.
They asked that anyone who saw Hernandez or another female wearing those clothes and carrying a drawstring bag with a “National Guard” logo in the area of North-South Road on Sunday April 20 between 10:00 and 10:30 p.m. to contact them.
They also stated that they are conducting interviews and reviewing surveillance video from businesses around Hernandez’s home to “gain answers to the many questions surrounding the disappearance and return of Abigail.”
No additional information about the case has been released at this time, but authorities noted that the investigation is ongoing and reminded the public to stay vigilant.
Hernandez’s family has requested privacy and has not made any public statements, but an Attorney General’s Office press release announcing her safe return quoted her mother, Zenya Hernandez, as telling law enforcement that “today we are the happiest people on earth.”
Anyone with information regarding the man depicted in the sketch or who saw a female wearing the clothing shown in the photos on Sunday night is asked to call the New Hampshire State Police at 603-271-3636 or the Conway Police Department at 630-356-5715.