KPD: Search for hiker suspended pending new information

KOKE‘E — The Kaua‘i Police Department has suspended active searches pending new information concerning a 23-year-old Nebraska man reported missing last month.

“KPD has continued to do targeted searches in Koke‘e within areas where it was believed he may have hiked. However, nothing has been found,” a KPD spokesperson said Monday.

Today marks 33 days without contact, and 17 days of searching for Samuel Martinez of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Martinez, who arrived on Kaua‘i on May 12, was reported missing on May 27 after missing his May 25 flight back to Nebraska. Martinez planned a hiking and camping trip at various locations on the island, acquiring eight permits in Koke‘e and Waimea state parks and the Kalalau Trail.

Search efforts began Sunday, May 30, and have continued at varying degrees, with intensive land and air searches, primarily focusing on Koke‘e and Waimea state parks.

While KPD retained overall incident command, the Kaua‘i Fire Department provided tactical support, using drone, helicopters and ground operations to different degrees through June 10.

Volunteer search-and-rescue operations have also covered certain areas, and included the Search Tech Advisory Team of Maui, Kaua‘i Search and Rescue and O‘ahu Search and Rescue, as well as local hikers and hunters.

There has been no positive sighting of Martinez since May 14, his father Ted Martinez said in a text earlier this week.

Samuel Martinez is 6 feet tall and weighs around 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

“Please keep Samuel in your prayers, and with these kind people as they search,” Ted Martinez said.

A GoFundMe account started to compensate search teams, offset volunteer expenses and fund future search efforts had reached over $15,200 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone with information about Martinez’s whereabouts on Kaua‘i is urged to call KPD dispatch at 241-1711. Those who wish to remain anonymous can report a tip to Crime Stoppers Kaua‘i at 246-8300 or

  1. michael mccarthy July 12, 2021 7:12 pm Reply

    according to what was said previously, there was no reported sighting of the Nebraska man after a day or so after his arrival on Kauai and travel towards Kokee State Park–right? Were any of his other camping permits used? So what happened, and why so long to have an enquiry? His phone was disabled too–did it have a GPS tracker? This is disturbing considering similar incidents in the area over the years.

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