CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire teenager who disappeared nearly two months ago mailed her mother a letter several weeks after she was last seen, law enforcement officials said Friday.
The FBI and New Hampshire attorney general's office said 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez wrote her mother on Oct. 22. The letter was postmarked Oct. 23, two weeks after she was last seen on Oct. 9, but the family didn't get the letter until Nov. 6.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said the delay may have been caused by the letter going to a post office box and not the Hernandez house.
Police said they did not disclose the letter until they could verify it was authentic. They are not releasing the letter or any of the contents and won't say where it was mailed from.
Law enforcement officials said the letter, which they called unprecedented in similar investigations, has given them hope though they still have "grave concerns" for her safety.
Abigail was last seen after leaving Kennett High School in North Conway. Police have said she walked her normal route toward home and sent several text messages to a friend between 2:30 and 3 p.m. At first, police said she made it home but they later said that was untrue. Police also at first said she made a call about 6:30 that night but later said that, too, was untrue.
The last signal her phone sent was at 3:07 p.m. from the west side of Cranmore Mountain Resort, 2.5 miles from her home.
"Though she could have left willingly, someone now could be coercing her," said Kieran Ramsey, the FBI special agent in charge who is leading the investigation. "Someone now may be manipulating her."
He said one of eight endangered runaways ends up being sexually exploited.
Asked if Abigail had run away before, Young said: "This is not a characteristic that we have seen before from her."