A teen girl in Florida who was reported missing some five years ago has been found alive and well. Emily Wynell Paul disappeared from her parents’ Southport in 2013, leaving a note telling her parents that she might return when she turned 18.
On Wednesday, law enforcement announced that they would be officially closing the case, after Paul attended a local police station to confirm her identity. According to a statement by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, the missing girl, now 19, called them on Tuesday to confirm that she was fine.
However, in order to determine her condition, and to ensure that she was not being held against her will, officers asked Emily to come down to an undisclosed police station.
“Approximately 30 minutes later, a second phone call came into the Bay County Sheriff’s Office from a police department, stating they had a female in their lobby, saying she was Emily Paul,” read a statement from the Sheriff’s office.
“At that time, we requested photographs be taken and asked that they collect other proof of her identity. An investigator with that agency spoke with Emily, one on one, for a period of time. Emily stated that she was safe, she had a support system and she was happy where she was.”
Police said that the girl appeared to be in good physical health, noting that she showed up to the station alone.
“We would like to thank everyone who spent countless hours trying to locate Emily over the last five years. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office wishes to announce that the Missing Person case of Emily Paul is officially closed,” the statement continued.
Just a few weeks ago, Paul’s mother, Pam Massimiani, had revealed that she had received a letter from her daughter.
“To all our friends and extended family, we want to let you know that we have heard from Emily. We do not have any further information to share at the moment,” she said after her daughter was reported to be alive and well.
“Thank you all for your support and love you have shown to our family.”
Emily Paul’s Cousin, Melissa Parker, said “it was just a shock,” to hear that she was safe. “We’ve spent five years wondering what happened, where’d she go,” she added, according to mypanhandle.com.
When Pam was asked about the potential of further contact with her runaway daughter, she said: “The ball is in her court still… There’s a lot of mixed emotions and a lot of feelings,” according to the Panama City News Herald.
In May 2017, Massimiani recalled the day her daughter vanished, with nothing but a bag full of clothes and her Xbox. “That day, I had left (the house) particularly early and she just seem like her usual Emily self. That was the last time I saw her,” she told Oxygen.
“I believe my she may have thought she was going into something good and when she got to whatever it was, it wasn’t as good as she thought it would be. That’s my gut feeling.”
As for the reason her daughter left, Massimiani said she had no real inkling. “We were very close. A lot of people think that because she ran away she had a problem and was angry,” she continued. “She wanted to go wherever I went. She always wanted to be with me.”
Tips continue to flood into investigators on the case of missing Iowa student, Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished while out jogging on the evening of July 18. While hundreds of people have been questioned in connection with her disappearance, authorities have remained tight-lipped about their ongoing investigation.
“Understandably this is a stressful time for the community and those who love her,” Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, stated at the most recent press conference Monday. “We ask that you remain patient and vigilant.”