The mother of Abigail Hernandez, the 15-year-old New Hampshire girl who reunited with her family nine months after she vanished, appeared on national TV on Monday and said rumors that her daughter was pregnant aren't true.
She also said she is certain her daughter, known as Abby, did not run away and did not know the man believed to have driven off with her.
"The majority of people somehow believe that she was pregnant,'' Zenya Hernandez told NBC's Today Show. "She was not. She did not run away. I firmly believe that.”
“As for her knowing the individual, I firmly believe that she did not know the individual," she added.
“I feel like they just took and ripped something out of our souls,'' Abigail's mother said in the interview. "And just as I swore that I'd find her, I'll find the person. I'll find out what happened."
Last week, N.H. state police released a sketch of the suspect based on Abby's description. Investigators said the man was driving a navy blue pickup truck and described him as slightly overweight with a large build, "darkish" skin, dark brown eyes and black stubble on his face.
Hernandez told the show she was shocked by how thin Abby was when she returned home on July 20, apparently wearing the same clothes she was wearing on the day she disappeared.
"She lost a lot of weight, very pale. She had a look in her eyes I've never ever seen before, and that's something that's haunting me and I think will haunt me the rest of my life," Hernandez said.
“We just stood and looked at each other and then we hugged, and then I said, 'Thank God you're home, thank God you're home.'''
"We're just taking it day by day,” she added.
Abby issued a statement thanking people who searched for her. "My gratitude is beyond words,'' she said. “It's an incredible feeling to be home and I believe in my heart that your hopes and prayers played a major role in my release."
The case has been treated as a missing person investigation from the start, according to N.H. Senior Assistant District Attorney Jane Young. There was even a checkpoint set up near the teen's high school to question drivers.
Investigators said early on that there was no evidence of abduction. Yet there was a $20,000 reward offered, which was eventually increased to $60,000 after a donation from Abby’s father.
FOX 25's Bob Ward talked to the ranking FBI agent working the case, Kieran Ramsey, who does not believe that she willingly left.
"This is a 14-, now 15-year-old girl that had a lively social media presence, that was very actively engaged in talking to her mom, classmates, and her friends and everything stops at 3:07 that afternoon. To think she willingly left, on her own, and has stayed dark since then is an extensive commitment on the part of a 15-year-old girl," Ramsey said.
Abby was only gone two days when Young first reached out to the public asking for help putting together a timeline to help locate the teen.
After six weeks had passed, Young spoke at a news conference and announced that Abby’s mother received a letter from the teen after she disappeared, but didn’t disclose much information about it. Officials also released two photos that day, one of a necklace and another of a purse that Abby was believed to be in possession of, Fox 25 reports.
Throughout the first six months of 2014, Zenya and police continued to periodically ask the public for help in finding Abby. Zenya even advertised an interactive map posted on the website created for the teen called Bring Abby Home.
The Associated Press and FOX 25 contributed to this report.