OSSIPEE — As Nathaniel E. Kibby remains jailed on $1 million cash bail, a team of investigators specially assigned to his case vigilantly probe every aspect of the Gorham man’s life — dating back even to before the day he allegedly kidnapped Conway teenager Abigail Hernandez last October, a state prosecutor said Thursday.
Kibby, 34, was arrested and charged with kidnapping July 28 — eight days after Hernandez, now 15, mysteriously resurfaced in her North Conway home town after a nine-month disappearance. Kibby has yet to enter a plea to the charge.
While a state officials calls the case “a very, large-scale, significant” investigation, to date scant details have been made public. The only record disclosed so far is the one-page complaint alleging Kibby kidnapped Hernandez Oct. 9, 2013, as she walked home from Kennett High School.
The public now likely will have to wait even longer to learn more information after the court on Thursday granted a defense request to continue Kibby’s probable cause hearing 60 days. The hearing — at which the state must convince a judge probable cause exists that the crime occurred — was scheduled to take place Sept. 9 in Ossipee District Court.
It was the second time Kibby’s public defenders, Jesse Friedman and Allison Schwartz, got court approval to postpone the hearing, first set to take place in early August. The state did not object to the continuance.
“The parties continue to work out the dissemination of discovery materials to the defense. Accordingly, as the state has been providing the defense materials, additional time is needed for Mr. Kibby to determine the necessity of a hearing,” Judge Pamela Albee wrote in her order.
“Mr. Kibby consulted with counsel and hereby waives his right to a speedy probable cause hearing to the extent implicated by the court’s granting this motion,” the order continued.
Meanwhile, Associate New Hampshire Attorney General Jane E. Young stressed the investigation remains “very active” and “comprehensive” with state, local and federal investigators examining all facts associated with it.
“The investigation is focused on the disappearance and the kidnapping of Abigail Hernandez and what ensued in the nine months that she was kidnapped,” Young said.
Asked if investigators are reviewing other missing persons and unsolved homicide cases — particularly those involving women — as part of the wide-ranging nature of the probe, Young declined to answer the specific question. But, she reiterated that “it is a comprehensive investigation examining all facets of Mr. Kibby’s life before and after the day that Abigail was kidnapped.”
At Kibby’s arraignment on the Class B felony kidnapping charge, defense attorney Friedman argued he could not adequately represent his client without access to all evidence held by the state.
Kibby lived in a mobile home at Gateway Trailer Park. His mobile home and a metal storage container located nearby were extensively searched by authorities; the site is being fenced off by authorities.
It is not unusual for defendants to seek continuances of their probable cause hearings and even more common for defendants to waive these hearings entirely.
In criminal cases, the state also can seek indictment at any time and sometimes defendants are indicted before their probable cause hearing dates are set.