New Hampshire teen Abigail Hernandez was subjected to “numerous acts of unspeakable violence” while being held captive for nine months, her lawyers said in a statement.
The comments are the first indication of what might have happened to Hernandez, who disappeared while walking home from her high school in Conway, N.H., on Oct. 9, 2013.
According to the teen’s lawyers, Hernandez, now 15, was “violently abducted” that day. She was reunited with her family on July 20. Nathaniel Kibby, 34, has been arrested and charged with one count of felony kidnapping. He is being held on a $1 million bond.
“Abby was violently abducted by a stranger,” the statement said. “For many months, she suffered numerous acts of unspeakable violence.
“Through her faith, fortitude and resilience, she is alive today and home with her family.”
Hernandez’s mother Zenya has said that when her daughter returned home she was visibly pale and thin. At the time, the teen’s family said she was not yet eating solid foods.
On July 29, Hernandez appeared in court to face down her alleged abductor. She sat in the courtroom’s first row alongside her mother and sister.
In the statement posted on a support Web site endorsed by the Hernandez family, her lawyers once again asked the public to give the teen time to recover.
“Abby needs and wants some time and space to physically and emotionally heal,” the statement said. “It is going to be a long process in pursuit of justice for Abby and for Abby to get physically and emotionally stronger. We do not intend to have this case tried in the press.”
Prosecutors have not said anything about what Hernandez might have experienced during her nine-month disappearance, citing the ongoing investigation.
In court documents, the prosecutors say they believe she was held on Kibby’s Gorham, N.H., property, which includes a shipping container and a trailer home, according to the Boston Globe.
If convicted of the kidnapping charge, Kibby faces up to seven years in prison, a $4,000 fine and up to five years of probation, according to the judge during the July arraignment.