Searches continue at home of Abigail Hernandez’s alleged kidnapper

Investigators continued their extensive search of Nathaniel E. Kibby’s mobile home in Gorham, N.H., today, and they expect to remain on the property of Abigail Hernandez’s alleged kidnapper through the end of the week, an official said.

“They’re anticipated to continue through the next several days,” said Jane E. Young, an associate attorney general in New Hampshire.

Kibby, 34, is accused of abducting 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez, of Conway, N.H., while she walked home from school on Oct. 9, 2013. A judge ordered him held on $1 million cash bail at his arraignment Tuesday in Conway District Court.


Kieran Ramsey, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, said authorities also continued today to interview Kibby’s friends and associates.

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Prosecutors have released few details about the alleged kidnapping or where Abigail was for the nine months between her disappearance and her return home last week.

As detectives combed through the property today, lawyers watching the case in New Hampshire puzzled over lingering questions.

“What remains unknown yet is once Mr. Kibby allegedly kidnapped her, then what happened? Did he hold her in his house? Was she there all 9 months involuntarily?” asked Albert E. Scherr, a law professor at the University of New Hampshire. “How did she escape and get home? Did Kibby take her there or leave her near her house? There’s a whole bunch of things that we don’t have enough information to sort out.”

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Until more details emerge, Scherr said, it is difficult to predict what strategies prosecutors and defense lawyers might use in the case.


Jesse Friedman, Kibby’s court-appointed attorney, declined to comment on his approach to the case today.

“It would be premature for anybody to speculate what we’re doing,” Friedman said. On Tuesday, he asked Judge Pamela Albee to enter no plea, saying he did not yet have enough information on the allegations against his client to argue the case.

Kibby faces a single felony kidnapping charge for allegedly abducting Hernandez from North-South Road in Conway last fall, but legal experts said today that more charges are likely coming.

Those charges could include assault or unlawful confinement, depending on the circumstances of Hernandez’s kidnapping, said Michael D. Ramsdell, a business and criminal defense lawyer who formerly worked in the New Hampshire attorney general’s office. If other people were involved in the crime, he said, conspiracy charges could be possible, or witness intimidation, if anyone was threatened.

“It really depends on the facts of the case,” Ramsdell said.


Mark Howard, another defense lawyer who formerly worked in the attorney general’s office, also said the kidnapping charge is likely just the start.

“My sense is that they picked the most sustainable charge now in order to get him arrested,” he said.

Kibby is next due in court Aug. 12 for a probable cause hearing, but legal experts said a grand jury might indict him before then, sending the case up to a higher court that has jurisdiction over serious crimes. They said defense lawyers might also waive the hearing in exchange for an early look at some of the state’s evidence.

Either way, Howard said, more details should emerge sometime soon, but a trial probably will not happen for at least a year.

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ZackSampson.