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Missing since October, Abby Hernandez is home

CONWAY — More than nine months after her disappearance, 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez is now united with her family and is in good health, authorities said. But questions remain.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation; she was 14 years old and she could not have facilitated all of this on her own,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said Monday.

The Kennett High School freshman was last seen walking home from school on Oct. 9, 2013. Her disappearance sparked a massive search that involved hundreds of volunteers, the Attorney General’s Office, FBI, the state police Major Crime Unit and local police.

“Abby was reunited with her family late Sunday evening; she is in good condition, but that’s all I can say about that,” Young said. “The investigation continued through (Sunday night) and is ongoing as we try to answer the questions of where she’s been for the past nine months.”

Abigail sent a letter to her mother a few weeks after her disappearance, but authorities refused to disclose the letter’s contents.

In a news release Monday, authorities said: “The facts and circumstances surrounding Abigail’s disappearance continue to be actively investigated ... Further details will be provided once it has been determined that releasing additional information will not compromise the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigation.”

Zenya Hernandez, Abigail’s mother, told the Union Leader Monday night: “Today we are the happiest people on earth,” but would not comment further.

Amanda Smith, one of the volunteers who conducted social media campaigns in hopes of finding Abigail, said Abigail’s family and friends are overjoyed.

“I can’t begin to say how happy we are, or how relieved we are,” she said. “Zenya (Hernandez) says thank you to everyone for the help and support. We never lost hope.”

On his Facebook page, volunteer Paul Kirsch said of the volunteers who helped search for Abigail, “it reminds me of all that is good in my community and the world.”

On the Bring Abby Home web page, a message was posted Monday night.

“Abby is safely home with her mom and sister!! Family requests privacy right now. Thank you to everyone who has shared fliers, offered help and support. We can’t thank you enough!! We will keep you all updated.”

Young thanked the public for helping during the investigation and said, “we continue to welcome the public’s assistance as the investigation continues.”

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