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Aerial searches suspended in search for missing Lincoln man in Hawaii

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 4:47 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Land searches will continue Tuesday in Kaua’i for a Lincoln man, who failed to return home from a trip to Hawaii in May.

On Monday, the Kaua’i Police Department said both aerial and ground searches of Kōke’e and Waimea State Parks turned up no sign of Samuel Martinez, 23, who failed to return home from a trip to hike and camp on May 25.

Other areas searched include Kalalau Beach and its campgrounds, Kalalau Valley, Miloli’i Beach, Koai’e Canyon and Waimea Valley, where ATV’s were used to comb through trails.

Without further leads, police said the aerial search for Martinez had been suspended. A team of volunteers from Kaua’i Search and Rescue planned to continue ground searches.

Martinez first arrived in Kaua’i Wednesday, May 12.

Samuel Martinez, age 23, of Nebraska, reportedly flew to Kauaʿi on May 12 with the intention of...
Samuel Martinez, age 23, of Nebraska, reportedly flew to Kauaʿi on May 12 with the intention of hiking and camping while on island.(Kauaʿi police Department)

Kaua’i Police said investigators were able to track cell phone pings from Martinez’s phone the evening he arrived. At about 4:40 p.m., his phone was in the vicinity of Waimea Canyon Drive Road. The last ping obtained was around 8:20 p.m. in the same general area of Waimea and Kōke’e state parks.

On Tuesday May 25, Martinez missed his outbound flight back to Nebraska.

In the days that followed, Lincoln Police launched a missing persons report, with the help of the Kaua’i Police Department.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t found any sign of Mr. Martinez throughout our searches. We also haven’t encountered anyone who has accurately identified him and his whereabouts,” said Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce. “At this point, there are several possibilities that could have taken place, especially on an island with dangerous terrain in places like Waimea Canyon and Kōke’e State Park trails, but we are still hoping for the best.”

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