Well this is embarrassing for… someone?
The Internet is having big fun this morning with an odd story that originated in the pages of our very own North Coast Journal. As they should, every click-hungry media outlet on the web is aggregating the tale of “missing” Rebekah Martinez, better known as “Bekah M.” on this season of ABC’s reality show The Bachelor.
Earlier this week the NCJ published a cover story looking at “The Humboldt 35,” a collection of 35 people who’ve been reported missing in Humboldt, in some way or another, going all the way back to 1977. The number “35” represents the number missing persons actively searchable on the California Attorney General’s online database. The cover image features the names of the missing.
Except one of those listed was missing in plain sight.
An eagle-eyed reader was like, uh, guys? That missing person looks a lot like that girl on the TV. Sure enough, said the NCJ! While technically still missing in a government database, Martinez has been very active on Instagram since her mother contacted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in November 2017 to report that her daughter had been working on a marijuana farm. And somewhere in the interim she finagled her way onto one of the most-watched shows on old television.
How did this happen? Well, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office released the following press release this morning to walk us through the weird:
On Nov 18, 2017, at about 1:06 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a missing persons report for 22-year-old Rebekah Martinez. The reporting party, Martinez’s mother, told deputies she last had contact with Martinez on Nov. 12, 2017, at about 11:00 a.m. via a friend’s cell phone. Martinez told her mother that she was going to work on a marijuana farm and would see her in seven to eight days.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office attempted to contact Martinez and other persons associated with her, receiving no response. The deputy followed procedure, following up on all leads and forwarding the case to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.
On Dec. 12, 2017, a deputy sheriff contacted Martinez’s mother by email to inquire whether she had heard from Martinez. Martinez’s mother responded to the email confirming that Martinez had contacted her late in the afternoon on Nov. 18, 2017, and stated that she was headed home. The deputy requested Martinez to contact the investigator of the case as soon as possible.
As part of procedure, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office deputies are typically required to make direct contact with the missing person to confirm status and wellbeing, as geographical and other factors allow. A deputy was not able to make direct contact with Martinez and she was not removed from the Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
On Feb. 1, 2018, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received an inquiry from a local resident in response to a news article about missing persons in Humboldt County. The resident reported that one missing person listed on the California Attorney General’s missing persons website was actually on the television show, The Bachelor.
The deputy who initially took Martinez’s missing person report attempted to contact Martinez by phone, without answer. The deputy left a message for Martinez directing her to contact The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office as soon as possible. The deputy then reached out to Martinez’s mother as to why Martinez had not contacted the Sheriff’s Office as requested in December.
The deputy was informed that Martinez had attempted to contact the Sheriff’s Office but was not able to speak directly with a deputy. At this time, Martinez’s attempts to contact the Sheriff’s Office have not been confirmed. The deputy provided Martinez’s mother with her direct phone number and requested Martinez call the deputy immediately.
Martinez returned the deputy’s call at 2:59 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2018, confirming that she was not missing and was doing well. Based on the totality of information provided regarding Martinez’s wellbeing, Martinez status as a missing person was cleared over the phone and she was removed from the Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
There’s a lesson here, kids? Um. Make sure you call back the nice deputy that would like to take you off the missing persons registry before you pursue your wacky television career, maybe?
[Side note: For those keeping score, two days after its publishing “The Humboldt 35” is down to “The Humboldt 33.” In addition to Martinez being found, a Eureka man contacted the NCJ to convey surprise that he too was considered missing.]
But how about Bekah. M? How is she handling this new level of fame? Like a pro, LoCO would argue!
MOM. how many times do I have to tell you I don’t get cell service on The Bachelor?? https://t.co/iYnxQCIZBt— bekah martinez ♡ (@whats_ur_sign_) February 2, 2018
honestly the scariest thing about this story is that my efforts to conceal The Worst Drivers License Photo Of All Time have been thwarted https://t.co/z0venho66p— bekah martinez ♡ (@whats_ur_sign_) February 2, 2018