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While thanking the community and law enforcement for their support, the mother of Abigail Hernandez said in a statement Friday night that the 15-year-old formerly missing person is suffering from “deteriorated” health.
“Right now, Abby is resting, extremely tired and in deteriorated health, and has lost a lot of weight,” the statement from Zenya Hernandez said.
“She is working to build her strength back and we hope soon she will be back on solid foods.”
In the statement, Amanda Smith, a close friend of the family, said she has been able to spend time with Abby every day since her return, she said.
“Abby is very thin and weak,” she said.
Zenya Hernandez said her family wished to express its “deepest thanks to the community, law enforcement and media for their continued support.”
“The extent of our gratitude can hardly be expressed in words and we are beyond overjoyed about Abby’s return.”
Abigail disappeared while walking home from school on Oct. 9. She returned home Sunday night under circumstances that authorities said still aren’t clear. Investigators have also said they are still seeking answers to Hernandez’s whereabouts while she was gone and her disappearance.
The family said it is working with investigators to answer the questions.
“The last few days have been extremely busy while law enforcement and medical concerns have had to be addressed. We are working in full support of law enforcement’s efforts to help the ongoing investigation,” Zenya Hernandez said.
Police released a sketch late Thursday and said the man depicted in the sketch drove her away on Oct. 9 between 2:20-3 p.m. At the time, the man was driving a navy blue pick-up truck on North South Road in Conway, north of the rotary, they said.
Authorities said Abigail described the man as having darkish skin, dark brown eyes, black stubble facial hair, and a large build, who was slightly overweight and slightly taller than she was. At the time of her disappearance, Abigail was 5 feet 4 inches tall, they said.
Anyone who recognizes the man depicted in the attached sketch is asked to contact the State Police at 271-3636 or the Conway Police Department at 356-5715.
“We appreciate people’s vigilance as they share the sketch photo that law enforcement has distributed and we hope that very soon this long, long ordeal can come to some closure,” Zenya Hernandez said.
“At this time we are trying to focus on the peace and joy of the moment of Abby’s return. Paul Kirsch and his family, who are close friends of the Hernandez family, had a chance to spend some time with Abby (on Thursday).
“We talked with Abby,” Kirsch said in the statement. “She is extremely thankful to God, to her community and to everyone who searched for her and she appreciates all of the positive support she has continues to receive.”
Smith added, “We continue to work towards getting her to eat. Abby has shown incredible courage thru this. She is beyond grateful to be home and is just relaxing, resting, trying to get her health back.
“Abby is forever thankful to everyone who offered help, support and prayers. I am incredibly proud of Abby for everything she has and continues to overcome in this ordeal.”