CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A 34-year-old man was arrested and charged Monday with kidnapping a New Hampshire teenage girl who returned home last week after vanishing nine months ago.
Nathaniel Kibby was arrested without incident at his Gorham home and was charged with felony kidnapping, authorities said.
Police allege Kibby knowingly confined Abigail “Abby” Hernandez, then 14, on Oct. 9, sometime after she left Conway High School for her home. Abby returned home the night of July 20, but authorities have not explained the circumstances of her return.
Attorney General Joseph Foster said Monday that law enforcement officials have worked around the clock to determine the facts surrounding the girl’s disappearance and return. He said Abby provided the police with details of her kidnapping sufficient to warrant Kibby’s arrest.
Kibby is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday at Conway District Court. It was not immediately known if Kibby has a lawyer. Foster said he will have a press briefing after the arraignment.
Abby’s mother, Zenya Hernandez, has said she believes Abby, now 15, did not run away and didn’t know the man believed to have driven off with her. Police released a sketch of him last week based on Abby’s description.
Abby also issued a statement thanking people who searched for her and saying she believes their hopes and prayers “played a major role in my release.”
Zenya Hernandez said when her daughter returned home, she was thin and pale and had “a look in her eyes I’ve never, ever seen before. And that’s something that’s haunting me, and I think will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Donald St. Germain, 76, who lives three trailers down from Kibby’s home told The Associated Press he doesn’t know Kibby and rarely saw him.
“The only time I saw him was this spring when he had to fix the roof on his trailer,” he said.
St. Germain said he noticed police in the mobile home park around noon Monday.
An hour later, several FBI agents knocked on his door and told him they had arrested someone accused of keeping a girl captive.
Abby’s mother said in a television interview that rumors that her daughter was pregnant aren’t true. She told NBC’s “Today” that many people think her daughter was pregnant, but she was not.
Foster said when the girl disappeared she apparently had no way to get about or secure food, shelter or other necessities on her own.
Townspeople who searched and prayed that she would return are relieved, but also are looking for answers about where she’s been and how she got home.
“I feel like they just ripped something out of our souls,” Zenya Hernandez said. “And just as I swore that I’ll find her, I’ll find the person, I’ll find out what happened.”