Kibby was 'rotten to the core,' according to former classmate

By Lloyd Jones
CONWAY — Former Kennett High classmates of Nathaniel Kibby were not surprised when they learned Monday that he was arrested as a suspect in the alleged kidnapping of Abigail Hernandez, a case that has drawn national attention. They actually remembered Kibby starting a gang while a student at KHS, and some believe he may have been linked to a number of called-in bomb scares during the 1998 school year.
One of Kibby's former classmates, Randy Waldron, Class of 1999 at Kennett High, said Kibby tormented him for 20 years.
"I don't know Abby Hernandez but I hope and pray this girl recovers from this," Waldron said by phone from New York City Tuesday afternoon. "This has been a pattern for Nat for 20 years. He's been a sexual deviant — he was a talented sketch artist who always obsessed about girls with dark hair and drew them with their hands tied behind their backs. I hope Abby gets word that she's not alone; there are more of us who were tortured by Nat Kibby. I'm really shocked no one could connect this to him sooner."
Waldron, who was the editor of the Black and White student newspaper at Kennett High, was walking through O'Hare Airport in Chicago when it came over CNN that Kibby had been arrested.
"I immediately called my mom (Nancy) who was on vacation on the Cape and told her an arrest had been made in the Abigail Hernandez case. I said, 'I'll give you three guesses who did it.' The first words out of her mouth were Nat Kibby. He tortured me and my mom for years."
Waldron recalled in 1992 on his first day in sixth grade at John Fuller School, he met Kibby for the first time. The encounter did not go well.
"He took me out into Whitaker Woods and beat the crap out of me," Waldron said and that led to Kibby being suspended from school, but the violence didn't stop.
"He was brilliant, a brilliant person with a vocabulary out of this world," Waldron recalled. "Pardon my expression but he was a 'bad bastard.' There was a time where I was afraid to ride the school bus because of Nat, he just terrorized me. I remember in seventh or eighth grade I started finding notes in my locker telling me, 'Don't ride the bus. I'm going to kill you.'"
That terror continued in high school.
"I remember freshman algebra in 1996 in Rebecca Hill's class, the two of them got into it big time," Waldron said. "Mrs. Hill asked him a question and he answered 'f_ _ _ you,' and then he unbuttoned his pants and made a motion of masturbating. He was suspended for that."
Waldron said it was Kibby who upon being suspended began phoning in bomb threats to the school.
SAU 9 superintendent Carl Nelson, who started in the district in July of 1998, said he was "quite familiar" with Kibby.
"The name is a familiar one," he said by phone Tuesday afternoon from New York. "There were issues as I recall, but I'd have to look through my file." Nelson recalled that 1998 was "the year of all the bomb threats," but he couldn't say for sure whether Kibby was involved.
Waldron said Hernandez matches the images Kibby used to sketch.
"It was always a dark haired girl and it was always in bondage," he said.
"I'm 33 years old now and I'm dumbfounded," Waldron added. "He's the kid of my nightmares. It took me years to get Nat Kibby out of my head. My mom and I had to go through therapy after this kid. I remember in one of our yearbooks someone wrote, 'What would ever happen if Nat Kibby joined the Peace Corps?' This was his destiny he was going to do something like this. He was sadistic — this kid was rotten to the core."
"When we heard the name, we were like, 'Ah, not surprised,' it's a shame, but we weren't surprised," a woman who graduated in 2000 from Kennett High, said.
The Conway resident had classes with Kibby from seventh grade on.
"He was a punk," she recalled. "And, kind of always in trouble. He was always kind of messed up, but he was nice to me. He started a gang while he was in school. He called it the Vipers, but spelled it with two 'P's which is kind of sad. I think he had maybe three or four gang members. They used to spray paint on places."
Another KHS graduate, Class of 1998, recognized the name when police announced an arrest.
"I remember his face and I think I had gym class with him," she said. "I don't really remember anything about him other than him being there. I was below his radar so I wasn't a threat."
Former Conway police lieutenant Chris Perley, who retired last month after 29 years in law enforcement, said he was quite familiar with Kibby.
"I regularly prosecuted Mr. Kibby because he regularly came across the law," Perley said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "He was a guy on our radar. Law enforcement became very concerned about him because of his unpredictable behavior and it always had violent overtones."
Perley said he was pleased when an arrest was announced. 
"My first emotion was relief and satisfaction," he said. "Relief in that the story has a conclusion to this point. Also relief that a dangerous predator is now behind bars. The satisfaction part is because so often these cases result in a faded memory of a loved one overtone. This is a major step toward a healthy outcome for Abby. I think we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief.
"I don't think anyone could have predicted that she would be so close and then to come home unharmed," Perley added. "The reality that evil exists within our own midst is difficult for many to deal with, but sadly, with the exception of Michael Woodbury (arrested for a triple homicide at the Army Barracks), all of the major crimes here have been committed from people within this community."
Perley worked on the Hernandez investigation, and although retired, he was one of the first people to call Conway police chief Ed Wagner on Monday night to congratulate the department on an arrest.
"I called to congratulate the chief last night," Perley said. "I'm only a few months removed from being there. I'm a community member, too. I have great pride and happiness like everyone else that this police department does not give up. Chief Wagner has seen it all during his time as chief and he does an outstanding job."
When asked if he always suspected Kibby during the Hernandez investigation, Perley replied there wasn't any specific suspect on law enforcement's radar for a long time. 
"Until this recent development, the facts and circumstances of her disappearance were not even clear," said Perley "This was a real mystery from the beginning."
Waldron watched the arraignment Tuesday afternoon.
"I was jumping up and down," he said. "For me, it's a form of closure."