A letter received by the mother of a Florida teenager who vanished five years ago is being treated as a possible communication from the young woman.
According to the Panama City News Herald, Pam Massimiani received a letter she believes was written by her missing daughter, Emily Wynell Paul.
“I’m pretty sure it’s from her,” Massimiani told the media outlet. “There’s a lot of mixed emotions and a lot of feelings.”
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said he “feels pretty good” it was sent by Paul, the Panama City News Herald reported.
The sheriff’s office has not disclosed the contents of the letter, which Massimiani received last week.
It would be the first communication from the teenager, who was last seen outside her Southport home on the morning of April 13, 2013. According to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Paul, then 14, packed a suitcase and was seen getting into a vehicle driven by an unidentified individual.
“Her family stated that leaving home and failing to return is very unusual behavior for Emily, as she has never run away before,” the sheriff’s office said in a 2013 press release.
In April 2016, Bay County Sheriff’s Investigator Jerry Metz spoke with Panama City’s WMBB-TV and revealed Paul had left a three-page letter indicating she was leaving home.
It “said when she turns 18 she would return if she wanted to,” Metz said.
Metz said authorities also found evidence Paul conducted Internet searches about being a successful runaway.
“She had taught herself on how not to be found,” Metz told WMBB-TV.
In addition to clothing, investigators believe the teen took her Xbox gaming console.
In a Sunday Facebook post, Massimiani said she’s not sharing additional details about the letter she received last week.
“We appreciate everyone understanding the need for our privacy at this time,” she wrote.
At the time of her disappearance, Emily Paul was described as 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighed approximately 100 pounds. Her eyes are blue and her hair in April 2013 was brown with green and purple highlights.
If you’re a teenager who has run away from home or a teenager who is thinking of running from home, or if you know somebody who is, visit the National Runaway Safeline or call 1-800-RUNAWAY.