HANOVER, VA (WWBT) – A happy ending to the missing person case of Theresa Meadows. The Lee Davis High School student was 17 went she disappeared back in 2004. Investigators say she's been living in Florida for the last five years but were able to contact her through an old neighbor who now lives in South Carolina. Now that she appears safe and sound her mother can breathe easier and investigators can close the case.
"I didn't know if she was dead or alive and when that phone call came in....I was relieved," said Margaret Swan, Theresa's mother.
It's a call that Margaret Swan has waited five long years to receive.
"I couldn't believe it. I was mostly in shock," Margaret said.
Her daughter Theresa Marie Meadows had been missing since 2004. Margaret was eager to catch up.
"She's been doing good for herself, she was just scared to call or come around because she thought she was in trouble. I made sure she knew she was not in trouble."
The break in the case came earlier this week when investigator Dave Klisz followed up on an old lead by calling one of Meadows former neighbors who now lives in South Carolina.
"I called him and believe it or not he said that he had talked with Ms. Meadows in August or September of last year, she had called him just out of the blue," said Investigator Klisz.
Earlier this week the former neighbor drove to Florida where Meadows had been living under an assumed name. He brought her back to his home in South Carolina and got her in touch with investigators. The recent pictures provided the final proof. Klisz also credits recent media exposure for providing a big break in the case.
"There was a clip on Channel 12 that she was able to look at from the internet and I think that convinced her to speak with me," said Klisz.
"I just want to see her face to face, that'd be the blessing of my life," Margaret said.
But Margaret wants that moment to come on Theresa's time.
"I'm gonna let that be her decision, I don't want to push her away cause it took me five years to find her," she said.
And the sound of her daughter's voice has been the biggest relief of all.
"At the end of the conversation she says, "Mommy, I love you." and that's what I've wanted to hear for a long time, for her to say that," said Margaret.
Investigator Klisz says that Theresa was also interested in getting some of her identifying documents like her birth certificate and her social security card so it appears she plans to drop the alias and become Theresa Meadows again.