Missing NH teen joins Vermonters on FBI list - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Missing NH teen joins Vermonters on FBI list

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Abigail Hernandez Abigail Hernandez
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Fifteen year-old Abigail Hernandez is the latest person from the region to be added to the FBI's website for missing children.

After more than 800 tips, FBI Special Agent Kieran Ramsay says, they're right where they were the afternoon Abigail vanished. "Everybody has a public life, a private life and a secret life, and in investigations like these we seek to uncover each of those. So we know a lot about her public life, a lot about her private life and we know about her secret life. Sadly, everything we know about her has not given us where she is today," Ramsay said.

"It's certainly frustrating," said Vermont State Police Major Glenn Hall. Hall knows how tough it can be -- he investigated Brianna Maitland's disappearance in Montgomery -- and nine years later, he still hopes they get answers. "That's a case that is active and we still receive leads on and we have detectives actively working following up on those leads," Hall said. He says those leads have come in every year since she went missing, including this year.

Major Hall says Maitland is one of 38 missing Vermonters. Donald Messier of Waterbury and his red Ford F-150 pickup haven't been seen for seven years. A private investigator working the case is distributing cards with information in hopes a hunter in the Waitsfield area may spot something.

Gracie Reapp from Jericho disappeared on June 7, 1978 with her mother Grace. In the 35 years since they disappeared, there have been many twists and turns for investigators. Three years ago, they were back here in Jericho searching the land for their bodies. "Short of us getting new information that would lead us to want to search another area and do additional searches, we're not at that point yet in this case," Hall said.
 
Ed Miller teaches criminal investigation at Champlain College. He spent more than 20 years with Vermont State Police. "The Reapp case -- I did some work on that back when I was in the intelligence unit. Ross Bovit -- I can remember that.  That was a Northeast Kingdom case -- that gentleman is still missing," Miller said.

Miller says new technology like 'bings' from a cell phone can help track a person. He also says reminding the public can help jog a memory and maybe finally bring home Abigail, Brianna and Donald. "It's sad for the families. They're the ones that suffer. They have no closure. They don't know what happened to their loved one," Miller said.

"We don't ever close a case completely," Major Hall said.

But as we're seeing in the Abigail Hernandez case, investigators hold on to hope, but it gets harder and harder when signs point to trouble. "Here you have a 14- year-old girl with a robust presence on social media -- texting, use of her phone, contact with friends and family -- and it went totally dark," FBI Special Agent Ramsay said.
 
You can't go into Northern New Hampshire without spotting flyers of Abigail. There's a $20,000 reward and FBI officials expect that to go up.

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