LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A woman reported missing in Northern California last November has been found in an unusual, but highly visible place: on a popular reality television program.
Eagle-eyed viewers of “The Bachelor” identified Rebekah Helena Martinez this week as a contestant on the show’s current season after the North Coast Journal showed her photo among 35 people missing in Humboldt County, according to the publication.
Martinez, 22, has been listed as missing on the California Department of Justice’s website since Nov. 12. The date, according to the website, was the last time the young woman was seen.
On Thursday, the North Coast Journal posted a story, accompanied by photographs, about missing people in Humboldt County on Facebook, asking if any of their readers recognized anyone on the list.
And they did.
The first to respond, Amy Bonner O’Brien, said she recognized Martinez as a contestant on the latest season of “The Bachelor”; the long-running reality television series began airing its 22nd season at the beginning of last month.
“I was just scrolling through the 35 missing people and I recognized some of them from news stories,” O’Brien recalled in an interview with SFGate. “When I got to her, I was like wait a minute, she looks so familiar and I instantly thought of ‘The Bachelor.'”
The Journal followed up on the tip, contacting the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office after tracking down an Instagram account belonging to Martinez. The account had been active throughout the time the woman had been listed as missing.
A short time later, the deputy who took the missing person’s report confirmed to the publication that she had been located. The deputy spoke with Martinez over the phone, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Samantha Karges.
She told the Journal that Martinez’s mother reported her daughter missing on Nov. 18, six days after she had last been seen. Martinez had told her mother she was going to work on a marijuana farm in Humboldt County.
“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 well-being, as geographical and other factors allow,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement obtained by the New York Times. “A deputy was not able to make direct contact with Martinez and she was not removed from the Missing and Unidentified Persons System.”
Martinez had posted on Sept. 17 that she was giving up her phone and social media for several weeks. Her next post was dated Nov. 22.
According to her contestant biography on ABC’s website, Martinez — who goes by Bekah M. — is from Fresno and works as a nanny.