By Daymond Steer
The Conway Daily Sun
CONWAY – While she was missing, Abby Hernandez said she saw the page 2 box in The Conway Daily Sun published every day that kept a count of the number of days she was gone, and it gave her hope.
Abby and her mother Zenya stopped by the Sun's office in North Conway Thursday morning to thank the newspaper's editorial staff and to tell the community they are thankful for the effort that went into the search.
"Thank you guys, so, so much, I really appreciate it more than I could possibly put in words," said the 15-year-old, who appeared relaxed and composed as any teenage girl. "I'm taking it a little at a time but I'm feeling a lot better every day."
The informal chat was the first time Abby has addressed the media in person and on record since she came home.
Nathaniel Kibby, 34, of Gorham, is charged with kidnapping her Oct. 9 after she left Kennett High School. She returned home on July 20.
The circumstances of her disappearance, where she was, and how she got home have not been made public, although it has been widely reported she was held in a steel storage container attached to Kibby's trailer.
Police have said, which was confirmed by Zenya Thursday, that releasing details at this time could compromised the ongoing investigation.
Kibby will next appear in court Aug. 12 at a probable cause hearing. Additional charges against him are expected.
Zenya said she and Abby appreciate the box the Sun ran on page two which contained a photo of Abby, a count of the days she was missing and the contact number for the FBI.
"As sad as it was to see the days growing and increasing, we truly thank you," said Zenya. "Abby saw that off and on. She didn't see it every day. It gave her hope that people were looking. It was one of the first things she said to me when she returned home, is 'thank you to The Conway Daily Sun.'"
Zenya said it was heartbreaking as a mother to see the number in the box grow larger.
"I saw that too and it was hard to see that," said Zenya. "At the same time, I knew that good people are there, you are good people, and it gave me hope when there was no hope at all."
When asked if there's anything Abby wants to do now that she's home, Abby replied that she would like to go horseback riding.
"I really miss that," said Abby. "I used to do it when I was little."
Zenya and Abby say they don't want to be treated as victims. Zenya said Abby is a "survivor" and needs to be empowered.
"I'd just like to be treated like a normal person," said Abby.