Mariah Martinez was first reported missing in October 2016 when her mom disappeared with her and her two younger siblings.
According to Live PD and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Mariah’s mom, Amanda Martinez, vanished when she learned her children were going to be taken away from her following an investigation by Child Protective Services.
As KCBD reports, Amanda’s middle child told CPS that “his mother’s boyfriend punched him in the nose after a fight with her” and the he “threatened to kill the whole family by driving into a pond.”
— Live PD on A&E (@OfficialLivePD) March 24, 2018
Eleven days later, the children’s school called CPS to tell them that they had not been in school that whole week. The call came on the same day Amanda tested positive for methamphetamines.
Four months after the kids were initially reported missing, police were notified by a family member that the two youngest children were seen getting dropped off to be with their mother. The oldest, Mariah, was still nowhere to be found.
Amanda was later arrested on felony charges and police began searching for Mariah to no avail.
But after A&E’s “LivePD” discussed Mariah’s case on the show, a new tip came in— a tip that would lead authorities to finding Mariah 18 months after she was reported missing.
At the time the show aired, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children spokeswoman Angeline Hartmann said that Amanda was not offering her cooperation.
Following Mariah’s safe recovery, NCMEC posted on social media:
The post read:
#MISSING child Mariah Martinez, 9, is SAFE thanks to #LivePD! After almost two years, she was recovered last night in New Mexico. Mariah was featured on Live PD on A&E Friday. We received a viewer tip and worked with Lubbock Police Department and New Mexico State Police to find her. Big thank you for bringing home one of our missing kids!
And the Lubbock Police Department did the same:
— Lubbock Police Dept. (@LubbockPolice) March 27, 2018
The department wrote:
The Lubbock Police Department is thankful for the diligence and continued effort by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in obtaining custody of nine-year-old Mariah Martinez.
Mariah was reported missing to the Lubbock Police Department on October 21, 2016.
While Detectives with the Lubbock Police Department’s Family Crimes Unit worked the case from the beginning, often time following leads across state lines, due to jurisdictional restrictions, they were unable to take custody of Mariah.
The Lubbock Police Department is thankful that the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children continued to place this case at the top of their priority list, ensuring that Mariah return home safely.
Dearly spoke with Becky Kovar, a Senior Program Manager for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who said that they are all very happy to know that Mariah has been found:
“We are all really excited about the news of Mariah’s recovery! We knew that law enforcement was following-up very seriously on the tip that we sent them and NCMEC received final confirmation yesterday morning, that she was safely recovered.
She is currently with the Department of Family and Child Services in New Mexico and they take over the case from here.”
Kovar went on to applaud the first responders for their efforts:
“Mariah had been missing for almost two years, this recovery shows that one person calling in a tip can lead to the safe recovery of a child. We applaud Lubbock Police Department and New Mexico State Police for their collaborative effort to find a missing child. We are so grateful for our partnership with Live PD on the A&E Network for highlighting a different missing child every week.”
It is currently unknown what is next for little Mariah. Amanda is still in police custody.