CONWAY, N.H. (AP) - In her first public comments, the New Hampshire teenager who returned home nine months after she vanished on the way home from school told her local newspaper that she's "feeling a lot better every day."
Abigail Hernandez stopped by the Conway Daily Sun on Thursday to thank the newspaper for publicizing her disappearance. The Daily Sun ran a box everyday counting the number of days Abigail was missing and urging people to call police with information.
Abigail was 14 when she disappeared Oct. 9 on the way home from high school. Local, state and federal authorities launched a wide search, combing the rugged terrain around her home. Rewards were offered, traffic was stopped and billboards and missing posters went up throughout the region, but for nine months the only trace of Abigail was a single letter she wrote to her mother.
She came home July 20, but the circumstances of her return are so far just as murky as the details of her disappearance. On Monday, police charged 34-year-old Nathaniel Kibby with kidnapping her. They have not released any specifics about the investigation.
The Daily Sun described Abigail, now 15, as composed and relaxed during the visit that also included her mother and a family friend. The paper said she declined to discuss her disappearance, saying releasing details would compromise the investigation.
"Thank you guys, so, so much, I really appreciate it more than I could possibly put in words," she told the newspaper. "I'm taking it a little at a time but I'm feeling a lot better every day."
Her mother said it was hard to watch the number of days Abigail was missing increase in the newspaper's box, but that the publicity was reassuring.
"Abby saw that off and on," Zenya Hernandez told the paper. "She didn't see it every day. It gave her hope that people were looking. It was one of the first things she said to me when she returned home, is 'thank you to The Conway Daily Sun.'"
Abigail told the newspaper that she looks forward to going horseback riding and she and her mother both said they don't want to be treated as victims.
"I'd just like to be treated like a normal person," she said.