Backpack of missing Nebraska man found

  • Kauai Police Department via AP

    This undated photo provided by the Kauai Police Department, shows Samuel Joseph Martinez, who is missing in Hawaii.

WAIMEA — New developments in the case of a missing Nebraska man have unfolded on Kaua‘i.

The backpack of Samuel Martinez, 23, of Lincoln, Nebraska, was discovered Oct. 13 by a local hunter in Koke‘e, father Ted Martinez confirmed Saturday.

The backpack contained most of Samuel’s inventory, including medical prescriptions, a like-new tent and clean clothing.

Ted Martinez said investigators believe Samuel stashed his gear in the brush by a camp on the second or third day of his trip to get out of the rain, to take a shorter day-hike without the large bag or go to the Koke‘e Lodge.

“The immediate area where it was located was thoroughly searched by Kaua‘i police and Kaua‘i search-and-rescue personnel on Friday, with negative results and no further sign of him,” the Kaua‘i Police Department said in a Saturday statement. “With no other leads, there’s no active search occurring at this time.”

Samuel 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 is 6 feet tall and weighs around 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He planned to hike and camp at various locations on the island, acquiring eight permits in Koke‘e and Waimea state parks and the Kalalau Trail.

Between May 30 and June 10, intensive land and air searches primarily focused on the state parks. During this initial search, KPD retained overall incident command with Kaua‘i Fire Department providing tactical support, using drone, helicopters and ground operations to different degrees.

“We believe he’s with God,” Ted Martinez said Saturday morning. “We feel the support of the Kaua‘i people from here. People always send their thoughts and prayers.”

Volunteer search-and-rescue operations have also covered certain areas of the state parks, including local hikers and hunters. Individuals on-island have continued searching throughout the summer. There has been no positive sighting of Martinez since May 14.

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


Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or


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