HONOLULU (KHON2) — The family of Samuel Martinez, the Nebraska man who went missing on Kauai on May 12, flew to Kauai Thursday evening to be briefed by officials who have been looking for him.
Martinez was last seen on Friday, May 14, in the area of Kokee State Park and Waimea State Park. Kauai police officials said his phone was last pinged in that area on May 12 around 8 p.m.
Samuel’s father, Ted, said the last sighting was on May 14 in the late afternoon. “It was raining heavily, and a gal did see him up there,” Ted said.
The family said they have a better understanding of why their son wanted to hike in such a beautiful place since they arrived on-island, and they also have a better understanding of how large the search area is.
“We’re just blessed to have the people of Kauai looking for Samuel as they are, and accepting us as a family,” said Ted Martinez.
Samuel had several permits to hike at different spots on Kauai. He was last seen wearing a black Nike baseball hat, navy blue shirt, orange and brown jacket and had his black backpack with him.
“He was geared up, he was ready to go,” said his father Ted. “He’s lost in one of those valleys, there’s numerous valleys, he’ll be found, and they’ll find him.”
Samuel’s parents said the terrain is much different than what their son is used to, although he has experience in the outdoors.
“He’s a very fit young man, so we have the utmost confidence in him to be able to survive in a climate like this. However, he was a novice hiker, when you look at this type of terrain,” his father said.
“It does feel good to be here, and look around and see what he’s seeing and be here with him,” said Samuel’s mother Cherie.
Cherie said the family is doing okay dealing with highs and lows.
“Being here and seeing maybe what drew Sam here and just getting a hug from every person we meet, just saying where we are looking for him because we want to and we want to help you and they don’t know us, I am continually prayerful and faithful and hopeful and just waiting to see him,” she said.
The family has been overwhelmed by the strangers who have been helping look for their son day and night for the last week, but more volunteers are needed.
“We’re hoping to get more volunteers up there for tomorrow [Sunday, June 6], experienced hikers or people that can drive and transport hikers to and from trailheads,” said Ted Martinez.
“Samuel is lost, Samuel needs help, and they’re going to find him and we’re all going to find him together,” he continued.
His father was emotional while he thanked all the volunteers and State and County officials who have assisted in the search so far.
“Thank you so much to all of you. We’re not sure how we’re ever going to be able to make it up to you all, but we will do our darndest to help you also make it comes to that. Thank you,” he said
Anyone with information on Samuel’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Kauai Police Department.
Volunteers have been meeting at the Kokee Lodge and Pavilion. For more information on the search, click here.