When Calah Noel Waskow disappeared in December, people assumed the very worst.
The 15-year-old had been last seen in Evans, Ga. Friends and family pointed to Jason Arlis Johnson, 37, a friend of her father’s. Johnson was known to the community; a neighbor told ABC7 Johnson had allegedly molested their daughter. An Amber Alert was released; authorities said Waskow was in “extreme danger” in the company of Johnson.
Waskow was found, alive and unhurt, 200 miles away in Tennessee, not the victim of a kidnapping, she says, but a consensual runaway. She said the choice to run away was “kind of spontaneous” and that Johnson threatened suicide if they didn’t run away.
She skipped five days of school as well, which alarmed her mother.
Waskow spoke to Dr. Phil in her first interview since running away. Though she still insists the relationship was consensual, she says she’s sharing the story to raise awareness. She told Dr. Phil she “made a mistake putting [her] life into the hands of a man who is a 37 year-old adult, old enough to be [her] father.”
Johnson has been arrested and charged with crimes including child molestation.
“I want people who are in, or think they can be in, an older relationship with somebody and get away with it […] it’s illegal and wrong,” Waskow says. “It’s illegal for a reason.”