In her first interview, the New Hampshire teen thanks those who never lost hope

Credit: New Hampshire Attorney General's Office/AP

In her first public words since returning home July 20 after a mysterious nine-month disappearance, the New Hampshire teen missing for nine months says, “I’m taking it a little bit at a time, but I’m feeling a lot better every day.”

Making a short visit Thursday to the offices of her hometown newspaper, the 15-year-old from North Conway, New Hampshire, thanked the editorial staff of the Conway Daily Sun for running a daily Page 2 box that kept count of the days since, according to authorities, she was abducted.

“Thank you guys, so, so much. I really appreciate it more than I could possibly put into words,” she said, according to the paper, which added that she “appeared relaxed and composed as any teenage girl” despite her ordeal.

Her brief comments came days after Nathaniel Kibby, 34, of Gorham, New Hampshire, was charged and held on $1 million bond in the girl’s Oct. 9, 2013, kidnapping as she walked home from Kennett High School. Details of the case and her whereabouts during her disappearance have yet to be revealed, but investigators have focused on a storage container outside Kibby’s mobile home.

During the months that searchers were looking for her, the girl periodically saw the newspaper and its tally of days since she went missing, alerting her that she’d not been forgotten, her mother told the paper.

“As sad as it was to see the days growing and increasing, we truly thank you,” her mom told the newspaper staff. “[My daughter] saw that off and on. She didn’t see it every day. It gave her hope that people were looking. It was one of the first things she said to me when she returned home, is, ‘Thank you to the Conway Daily Sun.‘ ”

Now that she’s back home, she says she wants to be treated “like a normal person” – and also go horseback riding.

“I really miss that,” she said.

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