CONWAY, N.H. (CBS/AP) – Abigail Hernandez was in court Tuesday afternoon at the arraignment of the New Hampshire man charged with kidnapping her.
Nathaniel Kibby, 34, was arrested without incident at his Gorham home, about 30 miles north of where the girl lives, and was charged with felony kidnapping, authorities said.
Hernandez vanished after leaving her high school in October and then showed up at home last week.
She sat in the front row at Kibby’s arraignment with her mother, Zenya.
Police allege Kibby knowingly confined Abby, then 14, on Oct. 9, sometime after she left Kennett High School to walk to her North Conway home. Abby returned home the night of July 20, but authorities have not explained the circumstances of her disappearance or return.
Kibby was ordered held on $1 million cash bail.
The judge denied public defender Jesse Friedman’s request to unseal affidavits, search warrants and other investigative material before the hearing. Friedman argued it was impossible for him to begin to defend Kibby without knowing the facts that led to his arrest.
If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
Attorney General Joseph Foster said Monday that Abby provided the police with details of her kidnapping that led to Kibby’s arrest. Those details came out within the last 48 hours.
Investigators are searching Kibby’s Gorham home, as well as a shipping container on his property. A law enforcement source says Abby was “held against her will” and the circumstances are “scary” and “chilling.”
Abby earlier issued a statement, which was posted on Facebook, thanking people who searched for her and saying she believes their hopes and prayers “played a major role in my release.”
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said that when the girl disappeared, she apparently had no way to get about or secure food, shelter or other necessities on her own. She said that Abby “went dark” and could not be traced through social media for the duration of her absence.
However, police revealed several months ago that Abby had written to her mother. When the letter surfaced, FBI agent Kieran Ramsey said it was possible the girl had run away but that someone could be coercing her into staying away. Police have not revealed the contents of the letter.
Several in Kibby’s neighborhood said they weren’t well acquainted with him.
“He seemed to be nice, down to earth. He was very polite,” said Roger Lawrence, 66, who lives in the same mobile home park as Kibby.
Lawrence said he met him last summer while Kibby was walking his dog. He said they exchanged pleasantries. He said he didn’t see Kibby all winter, but saw him Saturday, walking past his home to get his mail.
Lawrence said he was shocked to hear of the arrest.
“No words can explain it. I was ready to wring his neck,” he said. “I was wondering what happened to that little girl myself, seeing it on the news, thinking ‘Where could she have gone?'”
Another neighbor, Raylene Beaulieu said she had not seen Kibby during the time the teenager was missing and had not seen him much before then.
“He pretty much kept to himself,” she said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports