HONOLULU (KHON2) — The search for a missing 23-year-old man from Nebraska continues on Kauai, as county and state officials make air and land searches. Police say the missing man, Samuel Martinez, flew to Kauai on May 12 and was supposed to return on May 25, but allegedly missed his flight. Family tells KHON2 they believe his last known location was Kokee State Park.
The parents of Samuel say their son was very interested in exploring Kauai for the first time. He had as many as eight campsite reservations. According to his parents, police told them another hiker saw Samuel at a campsite at Kokee State Park on May 13.
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“Hiker said that Samuel told him he had hitched a ride so far and then hiked up the rest way and that’s where he was going to be camping,” said his mother, Cherie Martinez.
They were not surprised that he wanted to go hiking and camping by himself as Samuel enjoys the outdoors. They also believe Samuel intended to keep friends and family in the loop.
“And that did not happen and so on the thirteenth, when we had no contact with him, we, as mother and father, obviously worried, slightly, and then it built until it overflowed (on May 26) when he never showed up and made his flight home,” said his father Ted Martinez.
Parents say Samuel is a giving and gracious young man who volunteers at a high school. He’s a certified nursing assistant at a rehabilitation senior citizen center with plans to graduate this year from the University of Nebraska in microbiology. The family is holding on to hope and is grateful for those who are searching for Samuel.
“We’ve got feet on the ground that are with us and people that are wanting to go find him, and that’s what’s keeping us. We feel like we have, we’re there, you know, we’ve got people, they’re looking for our boy,” said Cherie.
“We are humbled by the outpouring of support from family, old friends and new friends on the island of Kauai, and here stateside that are pouring prayers, thoughts and actions into finding Samuel,” said Ted. “So we are holding hope close. We believe in Samuel and we believe in the people of Kauai and we are hopeful.”