FBI joins search for missing Conway teen
CONWAY - An FBI specialized team of investigators experienced in child abduction cases has joined the search for missing 14-year-old Abigail Hernandez.
Dozens of law enforcement and fish and game officers are on the ground, in the air and on the waterways looking for the teen who was last seen about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday walking home from Kennett High School.
Still, New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Jane Young, in a news conference early Friday afternoon outside the Conway Police Department, emphasized the investigation remains a missing person case.
Investigators said evidence found at Hernandez' 86 Village Way home indicates she arrived there after school, based on a track found by a New Hampshire State Police dog, but she was gone when her mother Zenya Hernandez came home later that day. Her mother called police.
Kieran L. Ramsey, the FBI's Supervisory Special Agent in New Hampshire, asked the public to call the FBI's tip line - 1-800-CALLFBI - or leave information online at tips.fbi.gov, or contact Conway police if they have any information concerning Hernandez.
They released a FBI missing person poster of Hernandez which features the last known photo taken of her by a security camera at the high school on Wednesday. In it, she is wearing black leggings/yoga pants, a gray striped multicolored sweater and black leather boots.
Young explained that investigators are trying to establish a time line of where the teen was on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The search has extended to the air, land and waterways, she said. The FBI has brought in more personnel, some as far away as Virginia, to assist in the investigation.
Young said the different agencies have all come together to "find this little girl" and said the family has fully cooperated with investigators.
According to the FBI's website, its Crimes Against Children (CARD) units provide a quick and effective response to all incidents of crimes against children and provide teams of experienced personnel to provide on-the-ground investigative, technical, and resource assistance to state and local law enforcement. CARD Teams consist of investigators with in-depth experience in child abduction cases.
The nationwide CARD Team consists of more than 60 members, with five teams serving each region of the country. The teams work closely with FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit representatives, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime coordinators, and Child Exploitation Task Force members.
Police Chief Edward Wagner said the investigation is an important one to his department, but their only concern is for "Abby's" safe return.
"Abby, if you are out there and hear this message, please call the police department, your family or friends so we can conclude this investigation and have you safely return," he said.
Conway firefighters spent Thursday searching near the girl's home, and assembled at the Thompson Road trailhead to help search near Puddin' Pond. The pond is across North-South Road from Village Way.
The investigation also included witness interviews, a search of Abigail's home and the surrounding area and traces of phone calls. Her name was submitted to the National Crime Information Center as a missing person.