Missing Girl, 9, Found Thanks to Reality TV Show

A viewer called in a tip about Mariah Martinez
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2018 4:25 PM CDT
Girl Who Went Missing in 2016 Found Thanks to Reality TV
Mariah Martinez's missing poster.   (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

A reality TV show about police officers is to thank for the recovery of a 9-year-old Texas girl who went missing in 2016. Mariah Martinez and her two younger brothers disappeared with their mother, Amanda Martinez, soon after a court ordered the children removed from Amanda's custody in the fall of that year. Mariah's brother Jeremiah had allegedly told his teacher his mom's boyfriend physically abused him and threatened to kill the whole family, People reports. The Star-Telegram reports Amanda tested positive for meth shortly before taking off with the kids. In January 2017, Amanda was arrested after leaving the boys with a relative, but Mariah was not found and investigators say Amanda wouldn't reveal where she was. Enter LivePD, a series that airs on A&E and often shows police officers doing their jobs.

The episode that aired Friday featured Mariah, and someone who was watching it called in a tip to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which then alerted investigators. Mariah was found Monday in New Mexico. No details were released about her recovery, including her condition, and no one has been charged since she was found. Lubbock police said in a statement she was returned home "safely," and NCMEC announced on Facebook that she is "SAFE," expressing gratitude to police and the show. Amanda Martinez's mother was arrested in New Mexico in December in relation to the case, Lubbock Online reports. Amanda Martinez pleaded no contest to a charge of interference with child custody and is prohibited from contact with her children for three years. (More missing child stories.)

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