Search for Nebraska man, Samuel Martinez, continued Monday
KOKE‘E — Continued land and air searches Monday took place to locate a missing Nebraska hiker.
Kaua‘i Fire Department rescue and Kaua‘i Police Department personnel, Air 1 and state Department of Land and Natural Resources rangers gathered to again to find Samuel Martinez, 23, of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Martinez, who is 6 feet tall and weighs around 180 pounds with brown hair and green eyes, arrived on Kaua‘i May 12. Martinez planned to hike and camp at various locations on the island, reserving eight permits in Kok‘e and Waimea state parks and the Kalalau Trail. Martinez missed his outbound flight back to Nebraska on May 25.
A missing person case was initially reported to the Lincoln, Nebraska Police Department on May 27, and KPD was asked to assist. An investigation on-island ensued.
Extensive land and air searches began Sunday, May 30, with focus on Koke‘e and Waimea state parks, including the Kukui Trail, Sugi Grove, the Alakai Trail and Kalalau Beach. Air 1 visited inaccessible western and northern regions of the island, according to a report.
Personnel were able to identify the location of a pasture on the way to Koke‘e that Martinez took videos of on May 13, one of his last known locations.
Sunday and Monday, rescue crews handed out flyers and spoke to hikers.
An employee at the Waimea Big Save market recognized Sam, but did not have a confirmed date or time. Footage, as well as GPS location of Sam’s cellphone, are being accessed, father Ted Martinez said Monday.
Searches picked up again Monday around 9 a.m.
“We’d like nothing better than to reunite Mr. Martinez with his family and we are doing everything we can to hopefully make that happen,” Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce said in a release. “I’d also like to take a moment to express my gratitude not only to the community for their compassion and vigilance in keeping a proactive eye out for Mr. Martinez, but also to the agencies and personnel who are closely involved in the searches. There are many people working together in hopes of bringing Mr. Martinez home safely.”
Martinez, a senior at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, was traveling with a black Osprey hiking backpack, a gray and green Kelty Salida Camping tent and bright green sleeping bag, according to photos provided by family.
Anyone with information about Martinez’s whereabouts on Kaua‘i is urged to call KPD at 241-1711. Those who wish to remain anonymous can report a tip to Crime Stoppers Kaua‘i at 246-8300 or cskauai.org.
Multiple attempts to contact Martinez have been unsuccessful and the investigation remains ongoing.
Sadly, little hope at this point. Please don’t hike alone.