When did watching a TV rerun ever do anyone any good?
Just ask 9-year-old Lubbock, Texas girl Mariah Martinez, who was found Monday after being reported missing in Oct. 2016.
The tip that led authorities to Martinez came into the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Friday after a real crime television show called “LivePD.” It airs on A&E. The episode from the show that gives viewers “a live look at police across the country as they work the night shift in real time” featured Martinez’ case, according to a tweet from the Center.
Mariah Martinez was reported missing to Lubbock police on Oct. 21, 2016, along with her two siblings Jeremiah, then 5, and Leimiah, then 2. Investigators with the Department of Family and Protective Services told KCBD their department obtained a court order to remove the three children from their parents’ custody after Jeremiah told a teacher his mother’s boyfriend punched him in the nose and threatened to kill the whole family by driving them into a pond.
The teacher notified CPS of the allegations on Oct. 17, the same day their mother, Amanda Martinez, tested positive for methamphetamine. When CPS officials tried to make contact with Amanda Martinez on Oct. 20, she and her children were gone.
“Mariah’s mom was about to lose custody of all three children. Police say instead of going to court, she took all three kids and went on the run,” NCMEC spokeswoman Angeline Hartman told LivePD.
Amanda Martinez was arrested on Jan. 17, 2017, according to the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, when she came back to Lubbock and dropped off Jeremiah and Leihmiah with a relative. She was charged with interference with child custody. Her mother, Deanna Martinez, had been in police custody since Dec. 26, 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
But there was still no sign of Mariah.
“After questioning the mother, police believe the 8-year-old female (Mariah) is still in the New Mexico area,” Lubbock police spokeswoman Tiffany Pelt told the newspaper in a statement.
“We understand that she’s not cooperating at all [with authorities],” Hartman told LivePD of Amanda Martinez, concerning what was then still an ongoing investigation into Mariah’s whereabouts.
An anonymous tipster called the NCMEC with information that led authorities to Mariah after the show’s re-airing.
Lubbock police tweeted a statement Tuesday that said “jurisdictional restrictions” played a role in the department not being able to “take custody of Mariah.” According to the NCMEC tweet, Lubbock police and New Mexico State Police worked together on the case.