Texas Girl Who Vanished in 2016 Is Found Alive Thanks to Tip From a Reality TV Show
A 9-year-old Texas girl who disappeared in the fall of 2016 has been found in New Mexico after a segment on her case aired Friday on national TV, PEOPLE confirms.
Mariah Martinez, who was reported missing to authorities in Lubbock on Oct. 21, 2016, was found on Monday, according to Lubbock police and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
The segment about Mariah aired during an episode of the A&E reality series Live PD. Someone watching the episode subsequently called in a tip to NCMEC on Friday and they alerted investigators to Mariah’s whereabouts, the center posted online.
Live PD trails police officers in real time as they do their jobs, often capturing arrests as they occur.
Further information was unavailable about Mariah’s recovery, including about where and in what condition she was found. No one has been charged following her return.
Authorities have said Mariah and her two siblings — Jeremiah, who was 5 at the time, and Leimiah, who was just 2 — vanished in 2016 with their mother, Amanda Martinez, soon after a court order was issued removing the three siblings from her custody.
Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services started investigating the children’s parents after Jeremiah allegedly told his teacher his mother’s boyfriend abused him physically and threatened to kill the entire family.
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Local news outlets report that Amanda was arrested on Jan. 17, 2017, after returning to Lubbock and leaving Jeremiah and Leihmiah with a relative.
She was charged with interference with child custody, according to the Star-Telegram. Though her siblings were reportedly recovered following Amanda’s arrest, Mariah was nowhere to be found.
Investigators allege Amanda refused to disclose Mariah’s location.
Amanda pleaded no contest to the interference charge in April 2017, court records show. As a result, for three years she must avoid any additional arrests and is prohibited from having contact with her children.
She was ordered to submit to DNA testing, has to refrain from patronizing businesses that sell alcohol and complete substance abuse treatment, according to these records. In addition, she must be home between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and was ordered to complete 120 hours of community service, of which she’s completed six.
In its statement Tuesday, Lubbock police said they were “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[ed] home safely.”