9-Year-Old Texas Girl Missing Since 2016 Found Safe Thanks To Tip From TV Viewer
LUBBOCK, TX — After a TV report about the case of Mariah Martinez — a nine-year-old who vanished in October 2016 — a viewer called a tip into the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NMEC) that has led to the child’s safe recovery.
Acting on the NMEC information, the Lubbock Police Department and New Mexico State Police were able to locate Mariah and return her home.
According to the arrest papers, Amanda Martinez, Mariah’s mother, had been under investigation in 2016 and faced emergency removal of her three children from her custody.
The emergency measure arose in Lubbock after Child Protective Services (CPS) workers interviewed Mariah’s brother Jeremiah, then 5. Jeremiah reportedly told CPS that Amanda’s boyfriend, Isaac Sanders, had punched him in the nose and threatened to kill the entire family by driving into a pond.
At the same time, Amanda tested positive for methamphetamine — and then she fled with the kids. Authorities later tracked down two of the children, but could not find Mariah.
Following last Friday’s TV report, a tipster directed authorities to look for Mariah in New Mexico. Officers discovered the girl there on Monday night. She has since been returned to Lubbock.
Amanda Martinez has been arrested on felony charges. Further details are said to be forthcoming.
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Main photo: Mariah Martinez [Lubbock Police Department]