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A US man charged with kidnapping a teenage girl nine months ago was ordered held on $1 million bail as the girl watched from the front row of the courtroom.

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Abigail Hernandez Faces Her Alleged Kidnapper in Court


Abigail Hernandez disappeared after leaving her high school in October and returned home last week.

Nathaniel Kibby was arrested on Monday without incident at his home in Gorham, New Hampshire, about 50 kilometres north of where Hernandez lives. He has been charged with felony kidnapping, a charge that carries up to seven years in jail if convicted.

Nathaniel Kibby, 34, of Gorham, New Hampshire, is escorted to his arraignment at Conway District Court. Photo: AP.

Police said Kibby, 34, confined Abigail, then 14, on October 9, sometime after she left Kennett High School to walk to her North Conway home. Abigail, who turned 15 a week after she disappeared, returned home the night of July 20, but authorities have not explained the circumstances of her disappearance or return.

Kibby was arraigned Tuesday and ordered held on $1 million cash bail. The only time he spoke was to answer, "Yes I am, your honour" when the judge asked if he would seek a public defender.

Hernandez, 15, returned home nine months after vanishing on her way home from high school. But the happy ending did not put an end to the mystery of where she was, who she was with and just what happened to her. Photo: Twitter.

The judge denied public defender Jesse Friedman's request to unseal affidavits, search warrants and other investigative material before the hearing. Friedman argued it was impossible for him to begin to defend Kibby without knowing the facts that led to his arrest.

Law enforcement officials said there were no other suspects and that searches of Kibby's home were continuing.

Attorney General Joseph Foster said Monday that Abigail provided the police with details of her kidnapping that led to Kibby's arrest.

In this file photo taken Tuesday July 22, 2014, a missing person poster of Abigail Hernandez displayed in a storefront window in North Conway, New Hampshire, shows Hernandez has been found. Photo: AP.

Kieran Ramsey, an FBI assistant special agent in charge, said the investigation hinged on three factors: The community outreach, the team of investigators who followed up on every tip and, mostly, Abigail.

"Abby herself helped her safe return through her courage and resolve to come home," Ramsey said.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young, who heads the criminal bureau, would not comment on what Kibby does for a living or supply other details about his background. He has a criminal history dating back to 1998, including convictions on simple assault, criminal trespass and breach of bail conditions, according to court records. He is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 12.

Abigail Hernandez sat in the front row of the court with her mother as she faced up to the man accused of abducting her for nine months. Photo: AP.

Abigail, who sat with her mother in court, earlier issued a statement, which was posted on Facebook, thanking people who searched for her and saying she believes their hopes and prayers "played a major role in my release."

Young said that when the girl disappeared, she apparently had no way to get about or secure food, shelter or other necessities on her own. She said that the teen "went dark" and could not be traced through social media for the duration of her absence.

However, police revealed several months ago that the girl had written to her mother.

Police revealed several months ago that Abigail had written home to her mother. Photo ABC

When the letter surfaced, Ramsey said it was possible the girl had run away but that someone could be coercing her into staying away. Police have not revealed the contents of the letter.

"Abby continues to work on restoring her strength," said Paul Kirsch, a family friend. "I have never been so blown away by a child's strength. This kid had found a way to survive for nine months."

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