Why Did Abigail Hernandez Keep Alleged Kidnapper’s Name A Secret?

Abigail Hernandez pictured at 14 shortly before her 2013 disappearance.

New details in the Abigail Hernandez case reveal that the teen kept her alleged captor’s identity a secret for at least a week after she returned home. CBS Boston shares that the Associated Press filed a motion to unseal various redacted court documents in the case, which have revealed that Abigail was not cooperative with investigators in the beginning. What does this new information mean about the case?

When Nathaniel Kibby was arrested and charged with kidnapping in July, it was apparently only because Abigail had a change of heart after refusing to identify the man when she was questioned by detectives. The Conway, New Hampshire teen reportedly told her mother the man’s name after admitting to her that she hadn’t been truthful. She revealed that she had learned Kibby’s name by looking in a cookbook that he gave her while she was allegedly in captivity. This interesting detail has triggered a mixed bag of reactions on social media.

The #AbigailHernandez hashtag has attracted a slew of comments and debates. Many people are suspicious of the whole “kidnapping” story being pushed in the mainstream media, including Emmy-award-winning TV personality and psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman MD, who took to Twitter to share her insight on the latest developments.

“#AbigailHernandez story=fishy: Waited 2 reveal captor’s name-then says from cookbook!? She’s runaway or knew him b4 or #StockholmSyndrome”

Stockholm Syndrome is a phenomenon that involves a victim bonding with his or her captor or abuser, as explained by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. It’s often displayed by a victim as either a survival mechanism, or later as a coping mechanism. Since Abigail Hernandez was allegedly held captive for nine months, it would not be a far stretch at all to compare what happened to her to a hostage situation in which survival would depend on whether or not she “got along” with her captor. Numerous people have questioned Abigail’s “cookbook” story, as it has left many wondering if she prepared meals for the man who allegedly held her as his captive. If she was indeed preparing meals for him over the course of the nine months that she was missing, then it would complement the survival element in Stockholm Syndrome.

Abby Hernandez’s case has been scrutinized as “suspicious” before, which was not aided by her behavior not long after she returned home. She famously flipped-off media cameras at a court appearance just days after Nathaniel Kibby was arrested and charged with kidnapping her. The photos of the incident are on the photographer’s website. This behavior led many on social media to question whether or not she was ever truly a kidnapping victim at all. Nonetheless, authorities have always referred to Hernandez as a kidnapping victim, even though the circumstances of her disappearance remain unclear. The New York Daily News is reminding readers that Nathaniel Kibby has not yet been indicted on any of the charges that he’s reportedly facing associated with the disappearance of the teen. He remains jailed since his July arrest and is being held on $1 million bail. Furthermore, the mother of Abigail Hernandez has not clarified on why the teen refused to identify her alleged captor until a week after she returned home.

It’s hard to tell whether Abigail Hernandez ran away from home voluntarily or if she was an unwilling victim in a kidnapping and long-term abuse situation. One thing is certain, however, and that’s that she was only 14-years-old when she vanished. Nathaniel Kibby is a 34-year-old man — 20 years Abigail’s senior. Regardless of what her state of mind was before, during or after her nine-month-disappearance, she was not legally able to consent to any living arrangement with Kibby.

Photo credit: Conway Police Department/CBS Boston