The mother of a girl who ran away from home in 2013 believes she has heard from her daughter.
“To all our friends and extended family, we want to let you know that we have heard from Emily,” wrote Pam Massimiani on Facebook.
Massimiani confirmed to the Panama City News-Herald that her daughter sent her a letter. The family is keeping the details of the letter private for now.
It’s the first time the family has heard from Emily Paul since she packed a suitcase and fled her Southport, Florida home, leaving a note that she was leaving.
“There’s a lot of mixed emotions and a lot of feelings,” Massimiani said.
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said that, based on the contents of the letter, he’s also confident it’s from the missing girl.
Investigators said that Paul studied websites that teach youth how to successfully run away and stay undetected. For instance, she has not been on her Facebook account since she vanished and she took her Xbox, which investigators believe she uses as a communication tool.
She also ditched her cell phone shortly after leaving her house.
Massimiani told Oxygen in 2017 that the note Paul left said something to the effect that she might return home when she turned 18. But she hadn’t reappeared or gotten into contact when she turned 18.
“I used to feel hopeful, real hopeful,” she said. “But she’s 18 now and I haven’t seen her.”
Massimiani also said her instincts told her that Paul was coerced into running away.
“I believe 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,” she said. “That’s my gut feeling.”
At the time of the disappearance, the sheriff’s office asked the public for help locating Paul, describing her at the time as standing 4 foot 10, weighing about 100 pounds, with brown hair with green and purple highlights and blue eyes.
“Her family stated that leaving home and failing to return is very unusual behavior for Emily, as she has never run away before,” the office stated.