Prayers were answered for the Florida family of a teenager missing for the last five years after the girl was found safe and sound.
Emily Paul was 14 when she vanished in 2013 from her home outside Tallahassee. Three weeks ago, a letter arrived addressed to Emily’s mother.
“In the letter she basically said, ‘Yeah I’m OK, I’m 19, I’m safe, I’m happy and I’m where I want to be,’” Paul's cousin Melissa Parker told Inside Edition.
For five years, the family heard nothing from Paul but “never gave up hope," adding that whenever they saw a girl who resembled her on the street, the clan wondered if it was Paul, Parker said.
“She's alive, that is the best thing that could have possibly happened,” Parker added.
After the letter arrived, Bay County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jason Daffin posted a social media message asking Paul to come forward so they could be sure the note was legitimate and not written under duress.
“Emily, if you'll do this I can close this case and I can have a piece of mind knowing you're OK,” he says in the video.
To everyone's surprise, Paul, now 19, walked into a local police station, one that Daffin does not work at, and asked to speak to a detective.
“Her remarks to him was she's happy, she's fine where she's at and she had a good support system,” Daffin told Inside Edition.
But in a heartbreaking twist, Paul said she doesn't want her family to know her whereabouts.
“It's crazy, but she's an adult now and she gets to make that decision,” Parker said. “I have no idea what it could take to get her home.”
Parker does hope that one day they will be reunited.
“I'm just hoping that one day she'll want to come back into all of our lives and be a part of it again,” Parker said.
Paul's family says they are not mad at her and she will be welcome whenever she wants to come home.