Investigators release sketch in missing teen case
CONCORD, N.H. —
The New Hampshire teenager who returned home this week nine months after vanishing on her way home from school has provided investigators with a description of the man she says drove her away that day.
Attorney General Joseph Foster distributed a sketch of the man to media outlets Thursday. But he said it's still not clear to investigators whether 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez was taken against her will or lured away, or what role the man may have played in concealing her whereabouts since she went missing Oct. 9 from Kennett High School in Conway.
Abigail returned to her North Conway home Sunday night, where she lives with her mother, Zenya Hernandez. The family has asked for privacy, and authorities have not provided any details on the circumstances of her return.
In a press release Tuesday, Foster asked the public for help in recognizing clothing that Abigail or another female may have been seen wearing in the vicinity of Abigail's home between 10 and 10:30 Sunday night.
Foster said Abigail was 14 when she disappeared and apparently had no way to get about or secure food, shelter or other necessities on her own.
"The individual or individuals who were involved with her disappearance and absence will now have to face the consequences of any unlawful actions," he said.
Foster said it is a felony for a person to forcibly take or lure away children under 18 who aren't related to the individual. He said Abigail described a man with darkish skin, dark brown eyes, and black stubble facial hair; he was slightly overweight and slighter taller than her 5-foot-4 frame.
Prosecutor Jane Young, who heads the criminal bureau, would not characterize Abigail's level of cooperation with investigators other than to say she provided the description of the man.
Abigail's mother has only said in a brief statement after her return, and quoted by Foster: "Today we are the happiest people on Earth." At the family's condominium this week, maintenance workers shooed away reporters who came onto the property.
"We are all pleased Abigail was returned safely to her family," Foster said in a written statement Thursday. "Law enforcement officers must now obtain satisfactory answers to the questions surrounding the facts and circumstances of Abigail's disappearance and nine-month absence."