The 22-year-old contestant from the current season of the ABC reality series went viral last week after being removed from a missing persons list in California when someone recognized her from the show. Now, the leading man is sharing his take on the saga.
“There was news over the weekend that Martinez was on a missing person’s list and was found because she was on The Bachelor,” Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host Ryan Seacrest said to Luyendyk Jr. on Monday’s episode, filmed on location in the Bahamas.
With a laugh, Luyendyk Jr., 36, joked, “I think the PSA for that is: Call your parents.”
Although the scenario was a comical misunderstanding, Kelly Ripa believes there’s more going on behind the scenes.
“I have a theory,” Ripa said to Luyendyk Jr. “Bekah is the girl you choose. Wanna know why I have this theory? Because she went into lockdown. … The dealio is when you choose a bachelorette, she has to go underground. She went so deep underground her mom thought she was a missing person!”
Sworn to secrecy until the finale episode, Luyendyk Jr. played coy in his response. “That’s one theory,” he said with a smile.
WATCH: The Bachelor’s Bekah M. Was on a Missing Persons List — Until a Fan Recognized Her from the Show
Martinez first went viral after the North Coast Journal shared its cover story to Facebook last week and asked if readers recognized any of the 35 people that were listed as missing from Humboldt County on the California Department of Justice’s website. One did, and pointed to Martinez’s image.
After comparing some of Martinez’s Instagram photos to her missing person’s photo and realizing they appeared quite similar, the publication reached out to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. Their call prompted the deputy who initially took Martinez’s missing person’s report to reach out to her Thursday. After speaking to Martinez, the deputy confirmed that she was indeed not missing, and she was removed from the list.
On Friday, Martinez joked about her missing persons photo, which was taken when she was 15 years old.
“Honestly the scariest thing about this whole story is that my efforts to conceal The Worst Drivers License Photo Of All Time have been thwarted,” she tweeted.
Replying to her own tweet, she joked, “Let’s play a game: russian nesting doll or bachelor contestant?”
She also shut down the rumors that the missing persons photo was proof that she’d gone under the knife sometime before appearing on the reality show.
“I never got a freaking nose job, it’s called contouring, people, look it up,” she explained on her Instagram Story, Saturday. “It’s just overall a very unflattering picture of me [from] when I was 15,” she added.
The Bachelor airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.