PHOTOS: Samuel Martinez and the flight path of one of many flights taken on Sunday during the search operation to find Martinez.
Kauai authorities conducted an extensive search operation on Sunday, May 30th, 2021 for 23-year-old Samuel Martinez of Lincoln, Nebraska, who is still missing. About two dozen people from the Kauai Police Department, the Kauai Fire Department (including an Air-1 pilot and personnel from Rescue 3), the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Kauai Civil Air Patrol, and Kauai Search and Rescue took part in the land and air searches Sunday from about 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Kokee State Park near the Kokee Lodge was used as a landing zone for the numerous aerial checks conducted by Air-1. Ground crews were also dispatched to Waimea and Kalalau valleys where personnel searched the areas and spoke to campers, providing them with photos and information pertaining to the missing man. Many acres of land were searched by foot and air in Kokee and Waimea state parks, including the Kukui Trail, Sugi Grove, the Alakai Trail and Kalalau Beach. Air-1 was able to traverse the entire inaccessible western and northern regions of the area. Additionally, flyers and photos were distributed to people in Kokee and Waimea state parks and other areas around the island, reports the County of Kauai.
Crews Focusing on Kokee State Park
“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,” said Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce. “More land and air searches will take place tomorrow starting around 9 a.m. and activity will again be prominent in the Kokee Lodge area.”
Martinez reportedly flew to Kauai on May 12th with the intention of hiking and camping while on the island. According to his parents, “police told them another hiker saw Samuel at a campsite at Kokee State Park on May 13th,” reports KHON 2.
According to a report, he was expected to return to Nebraska on May 25th but missed his outbound flight. This missing person case was initially reported to the Lincoln Police Department. Nebraska police reached out to KPD on May 27th at which point a miscellaneous outside assist report was generated and an investigation on-island commenced.
According to a preliminary report, flight records and safe travel records indicate that Martinez did indeed land on Kauai on May 12th and was screened for entry onto the island at the Lihue Airport. Further investigation revealed that Martinez acquired eight separate permits to camp at different locations around the island, including Kokee State Park and the Kalalau Trail. Multiple attempts to contact Martinez have been unsuccessful and the investigation remains ongoing. Martinez is approximately 6 feet tall and weighs around 180 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about Martinez’s whereabouts on Kauai is urged to call KPD at 241-1711. Those who wish to remain anonymous can report a tip to Crime Stoppers Kauai at 246-8300 or cskauai.org.
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