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Search resumes for Fremont High grad missing in Hawaii since May

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The Kauai Police Department developed a new search plan for a Fremont High School graduate who went missing on the island last May.

According to a post made by the family on a Facebook page Saturday, a backpack belonging to Samuel Martinez was found in Kokee near a church camp Oct. 13.

“Upon the detectives’ inventory of Sam’s pack, it appears as though Samuel was very early in his trip when he apparently stowed it in the brush, perhaps to go on a shorter hike without the heavy pack,” the post read.

The new search plan is based on where the backpack was recovered, and KPD and Kauai Search and Rescue are directing efforts in the area, the post read.

Martinez, a 23-year-old Fremont High graduate, studied microbiology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a senior. He flew to Kauai on May 12 for a two-week hiking and camping trip.

A few hours after landing on the island, Martinez went to a grocery store nearly 20 miles south of the airport in preparation of heading toward mountainous campsites on Kauai, Hawaii’s fourth-largest island.

Martinez’s family said he soon stopped communicating. Although they initially thought the lack of response was due to a poor connection, they filed a missing persons report with the Lincoln Police Department after he missed his connecting flight home.

The next day, LPD contacted law enforcement in Kauai, who began the search on May 30. The search, which included helicopters and search dogs, was suspended on June 14 pending new information.

Martinez is white, 6 feet tall and weighs 180 pounds. He has brown hair, green eyes and no scars or tattoos.

Additionally, Martinez was last seen wearing a black Nike baseball cap, navy blue T-shirt, brown and orange jacket, black shorts and black Osprey backpack.

Anyone with information on Martinez can call KPD at 808-241-1711 or Crime Stoppers Kauai at 808-246-8300.

Martinez’s family has shared updates on the search on the Facebook page “Samuel Martinez—Missing Nebraska Man Kauai, HI.” Members of the family traveled to Texas in August to visit with his searchers.

“There aren’t words for all the feelings we have, nor to express the gratitude for the continued support, prayers and the efforts searching by so many,” the post read. “Please pray for the safety of those searching.”

The 7-year-old Boston terrier-beagle mix was found recently after escaping a yard in Carter Lake 2½ months ago.


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