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October 16. 2013 8:47PM

Center says Abigail at 'extremely high risk'

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was notified Conway teen Abigail Hernandez was missing and had a specialized team on the ground to assist local law enforcers find her within 24 hours of her Oct. 9 disappearance.

“We consider her extremely high risk until we can show the facts otherwise,” NCMEC Senior Executive Director Bob Lowery said Wednesday.

Conway police notified the national non-profit agency Oct. 10 of Hernandez’s disappearance. The center classified Hernandez, 15, as “endangered missing,” assigned her a case management team, and sent a Team Adam expert to assist local law enforcers, Lowery said.

“We’re concerned about Abigail and the circumstances...Our team doesn’t deploy on every missing child case, only those on which the children are most endangered,” Lowery said. Such cases generally involve those in which NCMEC suspects “there may be foul play (or) the child’s life may be in danger.” Team Adam provides rapid, on-site assistance.

Lowery said lack of information about where a child went and why raises the risk factor, as does the length of time they are missing.

NCMEC is a national, non-profit agency based in Alexandria, Va., that works with law enforcement and families on issues related to missing children and sexual exploitation.

Lee Manning, a Team Adam member and retired Massachusetts state trooper skilled in missing children’s cases, arrived in Conway Oct. 10 to assist local law enforcers. He has since returned to Massachusetts.

The center still has a case management team assigned to Hernandez’s case and never gives up until a child is found, Lowery said.

kmarchocki@unionleader.com


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