A mother who was recently reunited with her missing teen daughter after nine months says she was overcome with emotion when the 15-year-old returned home just over a week ago.
“We just stood there, looking at each other, and then we hugged and I just said ‘thank God you’re home. Thank God you’re home',” Zenya Hernandez said in an exclusive interview with “Today."
Abigail Hernandez was returning home from school when she disappeared last October. Her family believes she was abducted by a stranger.
While the Hernandez family and the police are still searching for answers to what led to the teen's disappearance, her mother dispelled rumors that her daughter was pregnant or ran away. Zenya Hernandez said that when Abigail returned home on July 20, she had lost a significant amount of weight and appeared pale.
“She had a look in her eyes I have never ever seen before. And that’s something that’s haunting me, and I think it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Hernandez said.
The Hernandez family released a statement Monday morning on their web site BringAbbyHome.com with more details about their daughter's recovery.
"Right now, Abby is resting, extremely tired and in deteriorated health, and has lost a lot of weight. She is working to build her strength back and we hope soon she will be back on solid foods," the family said.
According to "Today," Abigail released a statement thanking those who aided in the search for her.
“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," the statement read.
Details remain confidential during the investigation into Abigail’s disappearance and nine-month absence, but New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said in a statement that law enforcement officers are working to obtain satisfactory answers. Authorities have issued a call for help in identifying a man they believe may have been connected to the disappearance.
“I feel like they just took and ripped something out of our souls.” Abigail’s mother said. “And just as I swore I’ll find her, I’ll find the person, I’ll find out what happened.”