Gorham man arrested for kidnapping Abigail
CONWAY — Investigators brought more than nine months of work on the missing persons case of Abigail Hernandez to a resounding close this afternoon with the announcement that the case had become a kidnapping investigation, thanks to information provided by the victim.
Nathaniel E. Kibby, 34, of 4 Brookside Drive, Gorham, was arrested and charged with one count of felony kidnapping for “knowingly confining Abigail Hernandez on Oct. 9, 2013, in Conway ... with a purpose to commit an offense against her.”
Law enforcement officials said the case had taken a turn, with help from Abigail, 15, who arrived home on July 20.
“That child was kidnapped, this man was charged,” Senior Associate Attorney General Jane Young said.
Police said the arrest was made about 12:04 p.m. without incident at Kibby’s residence in Gorham. The arrest came with the help of the victim, Young said, and with hard investigative work.
Nathaniel E. Kibby is listed in tax records as the owner of this mobile home at 4 Brookside Drive in Gorham. In this undated photo from town tax records, a blue Chevrolet S10 pickup truck is seen in the driveway; last week, police said Abigail Hernandez was driven away by a man in a blue pickup the day she disappeared last October.
Kibby lives at the Gateway Trailer Park, a park of about 50 homes located near the intersection of Routes 2 and 16, the two highways that bisect Gorham.
Wallace Corrigan, the owner of the park, said New Hampshire State Police spoke to him Monday afternoon about Kibby.
Corrigan’s son, Wallace Corrigan Jr., said Kibby moved in about five years ago with his girlfriend. She moved out about two years ago, and Kibby remained.
"He paid the rent. That’s all I cared about," the older Corrigan said.
He said he didn’t know whether Hernandez had been living in the mobile home. Corrigan Jr. said he never saw a young woman with Kibby in the park.
Corrigan Jr. said Kibby worked at a gun dealership in Conway. He last talked to Kibby on July 4, when Kibby complained about the town of Gorham’s spending on the fireworks display.
Corrigan Jr. said Kibby regularly complained about taxes and town finances. He thought that if Kibby were to ever get in trouble, it would be "a hostage thing at town hall."
According to published reports, Kibby pleaded guilty in December to marijuana possession and was fined $350.
Young credited investigators for their hard work in the Hernandez case.
"Over the course of the past week, law enforcement officers have worked around the clock to ascertain the facts and circumstances surrounding Abigail’s disappearance and return," authorities said in a news release.
"Abigail Hernandez provided the police with details of her kidnapping sufficient to warrant today’s arrest."
Kibby will be arraigned at 1 p.m. today at Conway District Court, in Conway.
"We will have a lot more to say about this at the arraignment," Young said.
Young said the investigation is ongoing, and asked the public for more information about Kibby. Anyone with information about "any activity at his residence since Oct. 9" is urged to contact the state police at 271-3636 or the Conway police at 356-5715.
Kibby’s arrest came on the day when Abigail made her first direct communication with the public since returning home, issuing a joint statement with her mother Monday saying it is "an incredible feeling" to be home.
"I wish that I could personally thank everyone who looked for me," said Hernandez, who returned home after being gone for nine months.
"My gratitude is beyond words. It’s an incredible feeling to be home and I believe in my heart that your hopes and prayers played a major role in my release. Thank you all for the welcome home," she said.
Family members searched relentlessly for Abby, creating the website Bring Abby Home. A $60,000 reward which included $10,000 from Zenya Hernandez, and $30,000 from Abigail’s father, Ruben Hernandez —– was posted for information leading to her safe return.
Union Leader Staff Writer Mark Hayward contributed to this report.