Today marks exactly one week since Conway, New Hampshire teenager Abigail Hernandez left her school to walk home, only to disappear. A family has waited for seven days for answers and they have nothing. Did Abigail run away? Was Abigail kidnapped? No answer. But now a detail has come out that may, at least, point to the missing girl's frame of mind after she was last seen.
The 15-year-old's boyfriend, himself just a child of 14, has revealed that he got a text from Abigail more than 20 minutes after she was last seen leaving Kennett High School. According to an interview James Campbell's dad gave to the local paper, the Union Leader, it was as simple as texts get.
Abigail's last message, which came in at 2:52 -- 22 minutes after the 2:30 p.m. time cops say was the last time the missing teenager was seen -- was just a heart.
Not much? True. But coming from a teenage girl, it's pretty significant. It sounds ... hopeful? I admit I'm Monday morning quarterbacking the texts a wee bit here, maybe I'm even a little biased as a mom who feels for Abigail's mom and just wants this little girl back home where she belongs.
Abigail's has been a story I just can't turn away from this past week, and I've been wondering if it's because it's the sort we all wonder about. Teenagers can be so fickle, and kids run away every day. But there's usually some sign, isn't there? Some key that they're unhappy before they up and take off?
Right alongside that is the notion that our teenagers tend to be "safer" than our younger kids, that at some point we give them freedoms like walking home from school because we know we can't keep them tied to our apron strings together.
Abigail's disappearance -- and the total lack of direction in the case -- throws both in our face. Do kids ever just walk off? Or do we need to be protecting our teenagers in the same way we do our little kids?
We don't know because the cops don't know. The FBI has come to work in this missing persons case because they consider it serious enough, and yet they haven't issued an Amber Alert in Abigail's disappearance because it doesn't fit the criteria.
So all we, the curious onlookers, the heartbroken outsiders feeling so desperately for a family in turmoil, can do is use armchair psychology on the evidence and do the best we can to help this poor family, to share her photo on Facebook and spread the word.
So I'll say it: a teenage girl who texts her boyfriend a "heart" doesn't sound like a girl who is taking off to parts unknown, leaving her friends, family, and the aforementioned young lover behind. It sounds like the message of a normal teenage girl who is in the throes of a normal teenage relationship. It sounds like this girl wanted to be at home with her friends and family, and it sounds like this girl needs our help to get back there.
So what can we do? Exactly what we've been doing -- share her photo, her details, get the word out there, help the police get more information so they can get this girl home where she belongs.
Are you drawn to Abigail's case? Why?
Image via FBI
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside