facebook.com/bianca.davis.56
Source: facebook.com/bianca.davis.56

Teen Vanishes from Home, Returns 20 Years Later with Children and Speaking Another Language

Brittany Chalmers
Jan 18, 2022
01:00 P.M.
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When her 14-year-old daughter went missing in 1997, one mother refused to stop believing she would return home. Two decades later, they were reunited, but her child was a completely different person.

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Cynthia Haag was devastated when she returned to her Baltimore home after work and realized her teenage daughter was missing. The mother searched for her child and eventually reported the case to the police. 

Months turned to years, and there was no sign of her daughter, Crystal. Cynthia refused to believe her child was dead. In 2018, she finally got the call she had been waiting for. 

14-year-old girl who ran away from home in 1997 | Photo: facebook.com/bianca.davis.56

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HER CHILD WAS STILL ALIVE

One of Cynthia's other children received a Facebook message from someone who claimed to be Crystal. As soon as the mother saw the profile picture, she knew it was her long-lost child. 

The 14-year-old girl was no longer there. Cynthia was now looking at a woman in her 30s who had her own children. It was difficult to reconcile the missing years, but the mother was thrilled that her daughter was alive.    

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HER DAUGHTER WAS DIFFERENT 

When the family met up with Crystal, she had short hair and spoke fluent Spanish—signs of her life without them. The long-lost daughter had also changed her surname to Saunders.  

Despite this, Cynthia said: "Still my pretty girl." The reunion was only the beginning of rebuilding their relationship. The mother wondered if her child was abducted or ran away willingly and hoped she would finally get answers.   

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SHE RAN AWAY FROM HOME

Per Crystal, she was not a happy child and recalled being assaulted repeatedly by a neighbor. The teenager believed her mother knew what was happening to her, and feelings of resentment led her to run away. 

Crystal ran away to New York and slowly created a new life. She immersed herself in a Dominican neighborhood, found a job as a cleaner, and didn't look back to her old life.

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CONTACTING HER FAMILY

She might never have returned to Baltimore if her children didn't start asking questions. They wanted to know about her family, and thanks to Facebook, Crystal made contact with her sister, who eventually brought the family back together. 

Crystal still had unresolved issues with her mother, and while they worked on their bond, it wasn't easy. Cynthia just wanted to love her daughter and move on from the past. Hopefully, that will be possible now.   

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ANOTHER 14-YEAR-OLD DISAPPEARS 

Crystal wasn't the only child who ran away from home of her own volition. Another 14-year-old girl, Emily Wynell Paul, went off to live another life in 2013.

Five years later, she reached out to her family, who was still looking for her. Paul contacted them via the police, and from a distance, she informed them that she was still alive.

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RELIEVED THAT SHE WAS ALIVE 

Shortly after confirming her identity, the authorities closed Paul's missing person case. Sadly, she had no desire to reconnect with her family. While they still held out some hope for a reunion, they were relieved to know she was okay. 

Both Paul and Crystal left their homes to lead a life they believed would be better for them. They left behind heartbroken families but fortunately, they reached out to them to end their wondering and answer the questions about where they were.

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