Missing Conway teen mailed letter to mother after disappearance
"It was unprecedented. We have not seen anything like that in any other previous investigation… It gave us hope," FBI Agent Kieran Ramsey said.
The letter was dated Oct. 22, postmarked Oct 23 and received by Abigail's mother, Zenya, in Conway on Nov. 6. She brought it to investigators' attention that day, Associate Attorney General Jane E. Young told a packed media conference with Abigail's mother and sister standing beside her.
Investigators did not disclose the letter until this morning because they first needed to run numerous tests and analysis of the letter - including DNA testing, handwriting and fingerprinting analysis – to determine if it was actually written by the Kennett High School freshman who was 14 years old when she disappeared Oct. 9.
"As best as we can determine, it came from her," Ramsey said.
Authorities would not say where the letter was mailed from or what it said.
They said they withheld the letter from the public in order to run down all leads it may offer in locating Abigail and to verify its authenticity.
To date, he said authorities have "hit a brick wall" and chose to make the letter's presence known to the public as they reiterated their appeal to anyone in New Hampshire, New England or across the nation who may have information about the missing girl.
"Our worst fear right now is that though she could have left willingly, someone may now be coercing her or may be manipulating her," Ramsey said.
Given Abigail is only 15 years old and has no financial means to support herself, Young said Abigail could be with someone who may consider themselves a "good citizen or a good Samaritan."
"I can assure you that you are not," Young said, urging anyone who may have Abigail to contact law enforcement.
"We're asking you to look at your neighbors, look at your grocery store, and look at your church. Is there somebody who you haven't seen before? We need your help and we need the public's help to be vigilant," Young said.
Law enforcement also showed photographs of a necklace with a blue stone in the center that Abigail often wore and had sentimental value to her. They also showed a white shoulder bag with a brown, leather-like strap and brown trim that she often kept with her.
"We are still classifying this as a missing person's case. We have grave concerns for her safety ," Young said, adding that when the teen disappeared she wasn't wearing winter-weather clothing.
Conway Police Chief Edward Wagner said police received new information several weeks after Abigail's disappearance that they should have received right away. He urged the public to report anything they know to police no matter how insignificant it may seem and even if they think police may already know.