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Missing Teen Found Safe 19 Months After Vanishing Says She Fled Abusive Dad: 'I Had to Save Myself'

A Kentucky teenager has been reunited with family after she disappeared more than a year ago.

Kamaria Johnson, 18, was reported missing in May 2021. On Friday, the Radcliff Police Department announced that she was recently "found safe."

RPD Captain Willie Wells tells PEOPLE that Johnson's mother brought her missing daughter to the department on Friday at about 9:30 p.m. She was reunited with her family the same day, police said, according to ABC affiliate WHAS-TV.

Johnson told FOX affiliate WDRB she fled home to escape her allegedly abusive father. It was her only choice, she told the station.

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"I had to save myself," Johnson said. "And I feel really guilty about it, but I just couldn't do it and it was just a lot to deal with, and no one was listening to me."

Johnson said she left her father's Radcliff home on May 26, the same night she was last seen at a gas station in Meade County, per WDRB's report.

According to Johnson, she left after her dad punched her and stomped on her head earlier in the evening. After the alleged assault, Johnson said her father ordered her to leave the home the next morning, telling her, "no if, ands or buts, but I have to leave," she recalled to the outlet.

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Johnson, who was 16 years old at the time, was later picked up on the highway and dropped off at the Meade County gas station, where she was last seen on surveillance footage, WHAS reported.

The teen told WDRB that she eventually found herself in Memphis, where she stayed off social media and kept a low profile — despite authorities continuing to search for her.

"I was still intensely in survival mode," she said, "but it was definitely safer than the situation that I was in."

After her 18th birthday, Johnson said she felt comfortable enough to reach out to her mother, Consuela Jobe, who had shared custody with her father.

"There was just this really big fear that if I had reached out before that I would get sent back to my Dad," Johnson explained.

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She told WDRB she did not disclose her whereabouts to her mother because she was afraid for both their lives. Her attempts to report the abuse were not taken seriously, she added.

After connecting with Johnson over the phone, Jobe drove six hours to get her daughter, WDRB reported.

Police have said that no criminal charges are expected to be filed in connection to this case, according to WHAS.

The RPD declined to comment on the matter of charges when asked about it by PEOPLE.

Now, both mother and daughter are looking forward to healing and a new chapter in their lives. Jobe said she hopes her daughter can get "some counseling and whatever help she needs," WDRB reported.

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Meanwhile, Johnson says she's excited to get her high school diploma and further her education at college, where she hopes to major in developmental psychology, "so that I can help kids who are going through things like this."

But most importantly, Johnson added, "I got what I wanted for Christmas, reuniting with my family."