SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 24, 2013

NH police frustrated 2 weeks after teen girl vanished


The Salem News

---- — CONWAY, N.H. (AP) — Law enforcement officials searching for a 15-year-old girl last seen two weeks ago walking home from school are growing frustrated that no solid leads have emerged, the lead FBI agent on the search said yesterday.

Police continue to conduct targeted searches for Abigail Hernandez, who was last seen leaving Kennett High School at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, said Kieran Ramsey, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division.

A timeline shows Abigail walked home from school and exchanged several text messages with a friend until shortly before 3 p.m. The last signal from her phone came at 3:07 p.m. on the west side of Cranmore Mountain Resort, 2.5 miles from Abigail’s home in North Conway. Police say unconfirmed sightings put Abigail on the road she normally used to go to and from school.

Tips continue coming into the 1-800-CALL-FBI hotline, including information from out of state, but Ramsey said so far the leads haven’t gotten police closer to finding Abigail.

“There aren’t really any significant developments in the bigger scheme of things and that’s very unfortunate and very frustrating for all the agencies involved,” he said.

Police are now doing targeted searches based on specific information, Ramsey said.

Since Abigail vanished, her mother, Zenya Hernandez, has made public pleas for her to stay strong and come home safely. On Oct. 12, the day Abigail turned 15, she wished her daughter a happy birthday.

“The bottom line is this: You have a missing, now 15-year-old girl with no independent financial means, who has cut off communication, either voluntarily or involuntarily, with her family and loved ones,” Ramsey said. “Those factors alone continue to push us.”

Ramsey said police must consider all possibilities. Abigail may have been in an accident or she may have run away, though he stressed there is no indication she did.

“Then, of course, our greatest fear and the reason we push so hard and because of cases we’ve seen across the country, is that fear of abduction,” he said.

Ramsey also said searchers try to stay positive, pointing out other abduction cases that have ended with the victims returned to their families, including 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, who was missing in Utah for nine months, and three women in Cleveland who were held captive for years.

Meanwhile, the White Mountain Milers running club is holding a public vigil for Abigail this weekend. The event is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at North Conway’s Schouler Park.