CONWAY — While authorities investigating the disappearance of 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez say they have found no distinct direction to follow in the case, residents in the area are making a clear statement.
"We aren't giving up," said Jonathan Goodwin, owner of Gemini Signs in Conway, who just donated a $1,200 sign with Hernandez's photo, personal details, and the FBI's contact number on it.
The sign is on a billboard visible from the northbound lane of Route 16 in Albany. The use of the billboard was donated by Ambix, a local company. The sign will stay on the billboard, Goodwin said, until Hernandez is found. She was last seen leaving Kennett High School in North Conway on Oct. 9.
"I think everybody feels pretty shattered. It's a horrible, horrible thing," Goodwin said. "But at the same time, this is a sweet little girl, and we won't give up on her. We will never give up, she's out there somewhere."
Another large sign was erected Tuesday just outside Boston, in view of both lanes of Interstate 93 in Dorchester by J's Signs, a company that is working with LostNMissing, a group out of Londonderry that helps find missing people nationally.
In Conway, Minuteman Press owner Pat Kittle has made up a few thousand business-card-sized wanted posters "so that people can have them with them when they see a girl who looks like Abby, and compare to see if it is her," Kittle said.
He's also made a large "missing" poster for each side of Doug Barron's truck trailer, which Barron drives from Conway north to Berlin and back twice a day. Barron will install the posters on Saturday.
"They are not leaving my truck until she's found," said Barron, of Tamworth. Barron doesn't know the Hernandez family, but said he has a young daughter and feels sympathy for Abigail's mother and family.
The business cards and signs were contributed by Kittle at a cost north of $1,000, but the money donation isn't what's important, he said.
"This is a very supportive community, I can't imagine us not doing things like this," he said.
LostNMissing founder Cynthia Caron is impressed.
"I'm blown away by what I'm seeing in Conway," she said. "You just don't see this much of a community response in other places. If we could get half of this response in some places, we'd be happy."
LostNMissing, which was formed in 2006 and became a national missing persons group in 2008, has also made contributions, including a new "online magazine" about Abigail's case. That magazine will be shared with more than 40 social media sites.