Missing New Hampshire teen is home, but case remains murky

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Abigail Hernandez

(CNN) — A search for clues. A grainy sketch of a man’s face. A teen reunited with her family but struggling to eat.

New Hampshire teen Abigail Hernandez returned home last week, more than nine months after she went missing on the way home from school in a case that drew national attention and concerns by authorities that she may have been abducted. But the mystery of her disappearance has only deepened with the few details authorities and her family have revealed since her arrival.

Investigators said they still have many questions about the case. Last week they released a sketch of a man they said drove the teen away in a navy blue pickup truck on October 9.

“While the investigation remains ongoing, law enforcement authorities are still attempting to ascertain and confirm information as to whether this man or any others who may have been involved with Abigail’s disappearance took her against her will, enticed her away, detained her or concealed her whereabouts for the last nine months,” New Hampshire’s Office of the Attorney General said in a statement.

Authorities say Hernandez, who was 14 when she disappeared, “had no known means to facilitate her disappearance on her own or provide herself with food, shelter and other necessities over the past nine months.”

Investigators also released photographs last week of black pants, a gray striped sweater and a camouflage-colored National Guard bag, asking for information from anyone who “saw Abigail Hernandez or a female wearing the clothing and drawstring bag.”

In a statement Friday, her family provided few details about her disappearance, saying that they were cooperating with law enforcement and “trying to focus on the peace and joy of the moment of Abby’s return.”

“Right now, Abby is resting, extremely tired and in deteriorated health, and has lost a lot of weight. She is working to build her strength back and we hope soon she will be back on solid foods,” her family said. “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.”

In the statement, family friend Amanda Smith described Hernandez as “very thin and weak.”

“We continue to work towards getting her to eat,” she said, describing what she said was her friend’s “incredible courage.”

Investigators haven’t revealed what they think happened. They said they don’t have all the answers yet, but they plan to keep searching for them.

“We are all pleased Abigail was returned safely to her family. Law enforcement officers must now obtain satisfactory answers to the questions surrounding the facts and circumstances of Abigail’s disappearance and nine month absence,” New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said in a statement. “The individual or individuals who were involved with her disappearance and absence will now have to face the consequences of any unlawful actions.”

CNN’s Marina Carver contributed to this report.

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