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Lawyer says Abby is fighting 'misinformation'

Union Leader Correspondent

August 13. 2014 10:04PM


CONWAY — A high-profile lawyer who is one of three attorneys now representing the public interests of Abigail Hernandez said the family statement issued Tuesday night was worded powerfully to battle the “incredible amount of misinformation surrounding this case.”

The statement said Hernandez “was violently abducted by a stranger,” and “for many months, she suffered numerous acts of unspeakable violence.”

The statement also said, “We do not intend to have this case tried in the press.”

Attorney Michael L. Coyne of Andover, Mass., said the statement was tersely worded “to give people some context about the seriousness of the case and make them realize why she needs time to herself.”

Coyne added: “And we won’t be trying this case in the media; there won’t be another statement in the foreseeable future.”

The attorney continued, “At some point, Abby may make a statement, but she needs more time to heal and to deal with issues that none of us would ever want any of our loved ones to ever face.”

Hernandez was a freshman at Kennett High School when she disappeared on Oct. 9.

“At some point, she wants to finish her education,” Coyne said. “Those plans are still undetermined.”

“It depends on how she recovers, how soon her professionals say she is ready,” Coyne said, declining to elaborate on what kind of professionals are helping Abby.

“She could be back at high school next month, or it could take a longer time. It all depends on how she does as she gets healthier.”

Nathaniel Kibby, 34, of Gorham, is charged with kidnapping the then-14-year-old Hernandez while she was walking from Kennett High School last October.

The evidence and details of the case have been sealed from the public by Senior Associate Attorney General Jane Young.

“She has a terrific advocate in (Young), she has a lot of confidence in her. But Abby is also a 15-year-old high school freshman with no information on how the process works,” said Coyne. “The three of us are fortunate to be associated with the case so we can help Abby deal with what’s to come.”

Coyne, who is Massachusetts School of Law’s dean-elect and a professor of civil law issues, confirmed Wednesday that he has joined the case with attorneys Steven Hyde and Briana Coakley of Coakley and Hyde in Portsmouth.

They are working free of charge for the family, Coyne added.

Coyne said he came together with Coakley and Hyde to join the Hernandez family “through a mutual acquaintance who helped us see the need to join this case, at no cost to the family.”

Coyne helped produce the statement posted Tuesday night at, a site borne out of finding and returning Abigail in the more than nine months she was missing before she was reunited with her mother, Zenya Hernandez, on July 20.

Coyne said the new team of lawyers has come upon “lots of disinformation from otherwise well-meaning people who really need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”

“I got a large amount of emails (Wednesday),” he said. “Many of them were positive, but most of them were negative and full of untruths and disinformation.”

“Everyone thinks they know what’s going on here,” Coyne said. “As the evidence comes forward, people will understand, they just need to be patient.”

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