Missing 9-Year-Old Who Vanished Over One Year Ago Found Thanks to Tip From Reality TV Show


A 9-year-old girl who had been missing since 2016 was found safely this week after someone watching a recent episode of a reality television show called in with a tip.

Mariah Martinez was reported missing in October 2016, when she vanished along with her two siblings with their mother, Amanda Martinez.

A court order was issued shortly after their disappearance, indicating that the mother was trying to avoid losing custody of her children.

Although police caught up with Amanda in January 2017 and her siblings were easily located, Mariah was nowhere to be found.

Amanda was charged with interfering with child custody, but she refused to tell investigators where Mariah was.

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A little over a year later, Mariah’s story was aired on an episode of the A&E reality show “Live PD.”

The documentary series follows law enforcement activity in the United States, seeing police officers do their jobs and even sometimes capturing arrests.

A viewer of the show called the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with a tip after the show had aired.

Working with Lubbock Police Department and the New Mexico State Police, the NCMEC found Mariah in New Mexico.

Other information is currently unavailable about Mariah’s recovery and no one has been charged yet.

In a statement released on March 26, the Lubbock Police Department thanked NCMEC for their assistance in finding Mariah.

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“While Detectives with the Lubbock Police Department’s Family Crime Unit worked the case from the beginning, often times following leads across state lines, due to jurisdictional restrictions, they were unable to take custody of Mariah.

“The Lubbock Police Department is thankful that the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children continued to place this case at the top of their priority list, ensuring that Mariah return home safely.”

We are so glad that Mariah has been found. This just goes to show the power of television to help keep cases like Mariah’s in the discussion.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith