Missing New Hampshire teen Abigail Hernandez. Credit: Conway PD
Authorities say a letter that missing New Hampshire teenager Abigail Hernandez sent to her mother last month is a "critical lead" in the girl's disappearance.
Officials announced Friday that Abigail, who was last seen Oct. 9 in Conway, N.H., wrote a letter to her mother dated Oct. 22 and mailed it the next day. Her mother received it Nov. 6 and turned it over to investigators.
"It is one of the most tangible leads we had in the investigation," Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane E. Young said Friday, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. "We are concerned for her safety. She is not out there alone."
The teen was 14 when she disappeared but has since had a birthday.
“We are still classifying this as a missing persons case. We have grave concerns for Abby’s safety,” Young said.
Kieran Ramsey, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Hampshire office, added that authorities are very concerned that Abigail is in serious danger.
“Our worst fear right now is that though she could have left willingly, someone may now be coercing her... manipulating her," Ramsey said, calling Abigail "a 15-year-old endangered juvenile female that has no independent financial means, so she’s certainly at risk.
"We have developed more information that is more substantive, and we will be laying it out at the press conference. The fact remains that we are very concerned about her. She's a missing person and we are concerned for her safety," said Ramsey.
“It certainly is our hope that Abby will be coming home soon,” Conway Police Chief Ed Wagner said, asking people to contact authorities if they noticed “somebody new in their community that moved into a home recently that has a young lady living in their house.”
According to the FBI, she was last seen about 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, when she left Kennett High School to walk home. She was seen wearing black leggings or yoga pants, a gray striped multi-colored sweater and black leather boots. Authorities on Friday released photos of a necklace Abigail may have been wearing and a handbag she was carrying.