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Gorham man arraigned for kidnapping Abigail Hernandez, but details remain scarce

Union Leader Correspondent

July 29. 2014 8:34PM
Abigail Hernandez, center, listens to her mother Zenya Hernandez, left, talk with N.H. Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young, right, prior to the arraignment of Nathaniel Kibby, 34, of Gorham at Conway District Court on Tuesday. Kibby was charged with kidnapping Abigail Hernandez nine months ago was ordered held on $1 million bail after a brief court appearance Tuesday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool)

CONWAY — With Abigil Hernandez looking on, Nathaniel E. Kibby was arraigned in Conway District Court Tuesday for allegedly kidnapping the Conway teenager last October.

Kibby, 34, of 4 Brookside Drive in Gorham, appeared before Judge Pamela Albee. She ultimately ordered Kibby — who has been in her court on several previous occasions to face unrelated charges — to be held on a $1 million cash-only bond pending a probable-cause hearing on Aug. 12.

“How a child like that can get through the nine months, and endure, I’m not sure,” New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Jane Young said at a news briefing after the arraignment. Young said Abby “has a level of strength,” that not many people may have.

Abby’s disappearance last Oct. 9 launched a massive search that ended July 20, when the 15-year-old returned home. Investigators have said it was information that she gave them that led to Kibby’s arrest Monday at his home at Gateway Trailer Park.

During a news conference after the arraignment, Young said the arrest of Kibby was “the first step in this case.”

Young said there appeared to be only one person involved in the kidnapping of Abigail Hernandez.

Public defender Jesse Friedman reserved the right to address at a future hearing the bail request made by Young, a decision that effectively precluded any discussion of the state’s case against his client on Tuesday.

Court officials said the only information available to the media was the complaint charging Kibby with knowingly confining “A.H. with a purpose to commit an offense against her.”

After the arraignment, Young acknowledged the lack of detailed information about the connection between Kibby and Hernandez, but said that was because the case was still under investigation.

Friedman, who entered a plea of “no plea” on behalf of his client, earlier had asked Albee to grant him and his fellow defense counselor Allison Schwartz access to the probable-cause and search affidavits against Kibby. Albee, who had sealed both affidavits, initially told Friedman that as the state was expected to make its argument for the high bail, he might get some of his answers.

Young said she “vehemently” objected to Friedman’s request, adding that if he wanted to find out what Libby did to face a single count of kidnapping — a Class B felony punishable by between 3 1/2 to seven years in prison — “he has his client.”

“I’m not asking for public disclosure,” Friedman said, just the selected release of information so that “we can accurately advise Nate here today.”

Joined by her sister, and their mother, Zenya, Hernandez sat in the front row of observers, directly in front of Albee on Tuesday. Although Abigail watched the proceedings quietly, her mother several times addressed comments to family friends and was the last person with whom Young spoke before the arraignment began.

Paul Kirsch and Amanda Smith, who are friends of the Hernandez family and have acted as their spokespersons, both declined to comment on Tuesday’s arraignment.

Kirsch did say, however, that Abigail and her family are doing well “all things considered,” adding that the kidnapping of Abigail and the prosecution of Kibby continue to be a “traumatic experience.”

Meanwhile, at Gateway Trailer Park, where Kibby has lived for the past five years, residents are wondering if Hernandez had been in their midst all the time.

“I think so. I don’t know where else he’d put her,” said Wallace Corrigan Jr., whose father owns the 50-home park and is a frequent visitor. “He couldn’t hide her at his mom and dad’s home.”

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