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How The Real Abby Hernandez From 'Girl In The Shed' Convinced Her Captor To Free Her
Nathaniel Kibby kidnapped Abigail Hernandez and held her captive for nine months, but she was able to convince him to let her go.
Abby Hernandez managed to convince her kidnapper that they were friends, a move that likely saved her life.
Hernandez was only 14 when Nathaniel Kibby kidnapped her as she was walking home from her school in North Conway, New Hampshire, in October of 2013, ABC News reported in 2018. Then for nine months, he kept the high school freshman hidden in a storage container on his property, located about 30 miles from her hometown. She was forced to endure near-constant sexual assault and torture.
But Hernandez never lost hope. In fact, in spite of the grim circumstances, she managed to convince her kidnapper they were friends.
She told ABC News that as soon as she was kidnapped, her instincts kicked in, telling her to earn Kibby’s trust.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Okay, I got to work with this guy,’” she reflected to the outlet. “I said [to him], ‘I don’t judge you for this. If you let me go, I won’t tell anybody about this.’”
While her first attempts to connect with Kibby were unsuccessful, she didn’t give up.
“I told him, ‘Look, you don't seem like a bad person. Like, everybody makes mistakes,'” Hernandez told ABC News. “'If you let me go, I won't tell anybody about this."
Slowly, she chipped away at Kibby and he began to trust her. He even had her create counterfeit money for him in his house, releasing her from the shed at times.
“Part of how I gained his trust, I guess, was… I went along with whatever he wanted to do,” she told ABC News.
Eventually, she even convinced him to set her free. She promised him she would never tell on him.
In July of 2014, Kibby drove the teen back to North Conway and released her. But Hernandez's promise was a ruse. A week later, police arrested Kibby. He later pleaded guilty to seven felony counts, including kidnapping and sexual assault and he is now serving a 45 to 90-year sentence.
The kidnapping survivor’s story of resilience is at the heart of Lifetime’s movie “Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez,” starring Lindsay Navarro, Ben Savage and Erica Durance.
Navarro, who plays the kidnapping survivor, told Oxygen.com that she was amazed by Hernandez’s ability to fight for survival.
“She looked at that situation and said, “I need to get him to trust me and he is a human being and I need him to see me as a human being,'" she said. "She was doing what she needed to do for survival. She is full of compassion in that way and it helped her survive that situation.”
The actor noted that Hernandez's faith also helped her survive.
“I think it’s a wonderful reminder that faith is so powerful,” Navarro told Oxygen.com. “This is something that gave her the courage to keep fighting as she was facing such horror every single day in her captivity. Prayer was so close to her heart and she believed that she would be able to see her family again. How can you not be inspired by her?”