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Why? Missing Florida teen who wrote letter to family found safe after 5 years

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Emily Wynell Paul
Pictured missing Florida teen, Emily Wynell Paul. Image via Bay County Sheriffs Office.
Emily Wynell Paul
Pictured missing Florida teen, Emily Wynell Paul. Image via Bay County Sheriffs Office.

What led to a then 14 year old Florida teen, Emily Wynell Paul disappearing from her family home only to recently reach out and confirm that she was safe five years later? No previous contact. 

A missing Florida teen last seen when they were 14 years old and who was recently believed to have sent a letter to her family, contacted authorities Tuesday and told them ‘she was safe’.

At the time of Emily Wynell Paul’s disappearance from the family Southport home, circa April, 2013, the teen vanished only leaving a note behind the News Herald reported expressing her intention of leaving.

But that all changed when the now 19 year old teen reached out to her family in a recent letter to inform them she was safe. Police then shared a message online asking Paul to contact detectives, according to MyPanhandle.

The teen reportedly called authorities Tuesday and was asked to visit the department to verify her identity.

‘Emily stated that she was safe, she had a support system and she was happy where she was,’ police said, according to MyPanhandle. ‘She appeared to be in good health and she had arrived at the police station by herself and left by herself.’

Since she’s an adult, detectives are not required to notify her family of her current whereabouts.

Emily Wynell Paul
Pictured a then 14 year old Emily Wynell Paul.

Emily Wynell Paul researched how to be a successful teen runaway: 

Of intrigue, prior to Paul’s abrupt disappearance, the then 14 year old according to her online search history did a lot of research on how to run away from home- inferring it was a long thought out plan and carefully orchestrated. Whether the girl acted on her own or in concert with others wasn’t clear.

Following Paul’s departure, family members, including the teen’s mother and friends have besieged the missing teen’s Facebook page with messages imploring her to make contact.

Posted a friend in 2013, ‘Hey Emily. I dont even think that you are reading this… but i didn’t really even know you and we all miss you! And your mom, She is probably devastated… Come Home Em!’

In June 2013, her mother wrote, ‘It’s me again.. we are going to start planning a trip to New York. I really want you to go with us. Love you!,, Maaoom.’

In May 2017, Paul’s mother, Pam Myers Massimiani told Oxygen, that her daughter had indicated in a note she left after her disappearance that she would return upon turning 18. Massimiani said, ‘I used to feel hopeful, real hopeful. But she’s 18 now and I haven’t seen her.’

Not immediately clear is what led to the teen running away from home in the first place, why they waited five years before reaching out, what they actually wrote to family members when they departed and whether the estranged teen plans to physically reunite with her family?

Emily Wynell Paul
Pictured a then 14 year old Emily Wynell Paul.