A tipster watching a rerun of an old show helped authorities rescue a 9-year-old missing girl after noticing the child in the show looked similar to a little girl in New Mexico. She was found alive on Tuesday after she disappeared two years ago from her Texas home.
Star-Telegram reports that while watching a rerun of the A&E show, “Live PD,” a viewer contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and reported that the girl in the show, Mariah Martinez, looked like a young girl the tipster knew of in New Mexico.
Mariah and her two siblings, Jeremiah (5 at the time) and Leimiah (2 at the time) disappeared from Lubbock, Texas, on October 21, 2016. They vanished after a court ordered the children to be removed from their mother’s care after an investigation by Child Protective Services (CPS) determined the kids were unsafe. The investigation started after Jacob told a teacher that his mother’s boyfriend, Isaac Sanders, punched him in the nose. The little boy also reportedly said the boyfriend threatened to drive the entire family into a pond and kill them.
Around the same time the boy’s teacher notified social services, the children’s mother, Amanda Martinez, failed a drug test when she tested positive for methamphetamine use. CPS tried to locate the children afterward, but Martinez said they were no longer with her.
Jeremiah and Leihmiah were found in January after an a different anonymous tipster told authorities where to locate Martinez. She was subsequently arrested and charged with custody inference. Mariah, however, remained missing.
“We understand that she’s not cooperating at all [with authorities],”NCMEC spokeswoman Angeline Hartman told LivePD at the time.
Although it’s still unclear who was taking care of the little girl, NCMEC worked with police to track Mariah’s whereabouts after the tipster’s call. She was located safely and is now in the custody of social services.
Lubbock authorities thanked NCMEC on Tuesday for their assistance in finding Mariah.
— Lubbock Police Dept. (@LubbockPolice) March 27, 2018
‘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 [returned] home safely.”
[Feature Photo: Mariah Martinez/NCMEC]