The last time anyone saw 15-year old Abigail Hernandez, she was walking out of Kennett High School in North Conway, New Hampshire, with her backpack slung across one shoulder, like she might have done on any normal day.
But this time, it was different. She exchanged texts with friends for a few minutes after security cameras recorded her walking through the school’s hallways, and then she disappeared, according to a timeline on a website dedicated to finding the teen.
On Sunday, Hernandez was reunited with her parents after a nine-month absence — but no one is revealing yet what might have happened to her during that time, at least not publicly.
“The long and short of it is, quite honestly, we are just happy that she’s home safe and sound right now,” FBI Special Agent In Charge Kieran Ramsey said, according to the Associated Press.
The New Hampshire Union Leader put the good news on the paper’s front page on Tuesday: “Missing since October, Abby is home.”
According to the Boston Globe, Hernandez sent a letter to her mother that was postmarked Oct. 23, a few weeks after she disappeared. The FBI suspected that she ran away with the help of another person who could still be compelling her to stay away from home. They also feared that she might have been a victim of sexual exploitation.
Teams of volunteers and law enforcement searched the wooded areas in the small town of North Conway in the days after her disappearance. Police searched by air and boat, put in place road blocks and distributed posters during the search. But they found nothing.
Then, suddenly: A reunion.
For now, the family is asking for privacy. A website dedicated to finding Hernandez thanked the family’s supporters:
Abby is safely home with her mom and sister!! Family requests privacy right now. Thank you to everyone who has shared fliers, offered help and support. We cant thank you enough!! We will keep you all updated. THANK YOU!!!
But some people in the 2,300-person New Hampshire town are starting to ask for answers.
“We had fundraisers we searched we had search parties up her. We just want to have honest answers. We as a towns people, we need some answers,” said one person interviewed by a local news station, according to WCVB in Boston.