Parents of UNL student missing in Hawaii asking for public's help

(Undated) -- The parents of a University of Nebraska Lincoln student who has been heard from since May 13th, are asking for the public’s help sharing his photos.

23 year old Samuel Martinez hasn’t been seen since he began his solo hiking and camping trip on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. His parents, Cherie and Ted, live in North Bend and tell WOWT 6 News that Samuel left Omaha on the 12th for a 14-day solo trip. It's a trip they say he’s wanted to do for a long time. “We weren’t able to have contact with him after the first day, we figured the service was bad and we lightly worried for a bit. For 10 days it built and built and built and then he did not board his plane from Hawaii to LAX on the 25, so the 26 we were aware that he didn’t make it to Omaha,” Ted says.

Extensive air and ground searches have been conducted by the Kaua’i Police Department and several other agencies.

Sam had an itinerary for his trip and received permits at several campsites in Kaua’i state parks. On May 13th, police confirmed that Samuel was seen by another hiker while on his way to his first campsite. “The gentleman said there was nothing out of the ordinary, Samuel shared with him that he hitchhiked across Kaua’i and hiked north up to the state park,” says Ted. “Which is what we thought he did,” Cherie adds.

The two say they know he stopped at a grocery store to buy food before heading north into the state park. “We have wanted every hour to go to Eppley to get on a plane to go to Kaua’i, however, what is best for Samuel is not his mother and father up in the mountains lost and launching a search party for us,” said Ted. “We’ve been professionally advised to stay here with family members and build the information and social media base and follow up with Kaua’i and help them by getting them information about Sam from his friends and his digital footprint.”

Ted and Cherie say they wanted to include photos of his camping gear in case anyone using the trails in Hawaii during the busy holiday weekend may spot it. The family remains positive that Samuel has gotten lost or is attempting to help someone else who may be lost as well. Through community support and help in Nebraska and Hawaii, they’re positive their son will return home safely.

They say they’re eternally grateful for the help from Hawaii and Kaua’i authorities. “Anyone who comes in contact with Samuel is going to have a friend, he’s going to treat them well and ask them if they need anything. He’s very approachable, when you see him he may need help. Help him come home and we pray that that happens.”

(Photo by WOWT)

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