A girl who vanished in 2016 has been discovered safe after a viewer sent a tip to authorities following a television segment that chronicled the disappearance of the child.
Mariah Martinez, 9, was last seen on October 18, 2016, after being taken from her home in Lubbock, Texas. The girl was featured on a segment on A&E’s “Live PD” program on Friday.
The show’s hosts chronicled the events that led to Martinez’s disappearance. The girl’s mother, Amanda, was close to losing custody of her three children when she decided to flee instead of going to court. The mother took Mariah, then 8 years old, and her two siblings, Jeremiah Martinez, 5, and Leimiah Martinez McGavok, 2, FOX2NOW reported.
A court order was issued after Amanda’s boyfriend allegedly punched the 5-year-old in the nose and threatened to kill the family by driving their car into a pond.
Police were tipped off to the family’s whereabouts in January 2017. Officers found Amanda Martinez and two of her children but not Mariah. The mother was arrested on felony charges and is in police custody. Authorities tried to find out where Mariah was through the mother, but she refused to cooperate, the program reported.
Authorities believed Mariah was still in Texas but could have been in New Mexico due to the mother's connections in the state.
The program ended by asking viewers to contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children [NCMEC] -- and somebody did. The center posted to Facebook on Tuesday that Mariah was found in New Mexico following a viewer’s tip.
“Mariah was featured on Live PD on A&E Friday. We received a viewer tip & worked w/ Lubbock Police Department & New Mexico State Police to find her. Big thank you for bringing home one of our missing kids!" the center stated.
The Lubbock Police Department released a statement saying they were thankful to NCMEC for helping find Martinez.
“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[s] home safely,” the department stated.
Police did not release further details of where the girl was located and who she was with. Fox News’ request for a comment from the Lubbock Police Department was not immediately returned.