Abigail Hernandez was thin and pale when she returned home to her parents after a nine-month disappearance, her mother said.
She was “very pale; she lost a lot of weight,” Zenya Hernandez told NBC’s “Today” on Monday in her first interview since the New Hampshire teen reappeared on July 20. “It’s something that’s haunting me, and I think will haunt for the rest of my life.”
In a statement released on the BringAbbyHome.com support Web site on Friday, the Hernandez family said that Abby Hernandez is in “deteriorating health.”
“She is working to build her strength back and we hope soon she will be back on solid foods,” they said.
On Monday, Zenya Hernandez also sought to combat widespread rumors that have emerged since her daughter arrived back home.
“The majority of people somehow believe that she was pregnant, she was not, she did not run away,” she told “Today” — though she did not provide any further details on what might have happened to Abby during her disappearance.
Last Oct. 9, then-14-year-old Abigail Hernandez was seen walking out of her high school towards her home in North Conway, N.H., with her backpack slung across one shoulder.
She wasn’t seen again until she was reunited with her family last week.
In the days since her reappearance, the New Hampshire attorney general has released a sketch of a man being sought in connection with Abby’s disappearance.
Abby Hernandez told police that a man drove her away on Oct. 9, between 2:20 and 3 p.m., law enforcement officials said in a statement that accompanied the sketch. He was driving a navy blue pick-up, and Abby Hernandez described him as having “darkish skin,” dark brown eyes, black stubble and a large build.
“The individual or individuals who were involved with her disappearance and absence will now have to face the consequences of any unlawful actions,” New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said in a statement. “Finding these answers and assuring the perpetrator is brought to justice will help ensure a similar act is not committed against another child.”
Law enforcement officials say they do not believe Hernandez had the means to facilitate her own disappearance or provide herself with food and shelter for the last nine months.
“I feel like they just ripped something out of our souls,” Zenya Hernandez added in the interview that aired Monday morning. “Just as I swore I would find her, I’ll find the person” who abducted her, she said.