Paula Lopez Missing Persons Scare, KEYT Anchor Found Safe

Paula Lopez KEYT

Usually when a missing person’s case becomes a news story, the person has been abducted or missing for quite some time. Also, the story becomes a plea for anyone who may have information that will help loved ones the person who is missing.  However, in this case, the missing person’s story is reporting that the individual was found and the same person who the news story is about actually reports the news for a living.

TV news anchorwoman for ABC News affiliate KEYT Paula Lopez became news herself when she became part of a missing person’s scare around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. Later that same day, Lopez’s family notified the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Public Safety Dispatch and told them that she was safe at home.

While Wednesday may have seemed like a typical day to some, it was anything but normal for Paula Lopez and her family. The TV news anchorwoman in Santa Barbara, California was reported missing early Wednesday morning only to be discovered safe in her home later in the evening.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office wrote a prepared statement that said, “At around 5:30 p.m. tonight, her family members called Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Public Safety Dispatch to report that she is home and safe. When deputies responded to her residence they confirmed she was there and no longer missing.”

The sheriff’s department said that earlier in the day, the 48-year-old’s family had called the authorities to report Lopez had gone missing just after 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

In an earlier statement Wednesday evening, the sheriff’s department said, “Her last known location was at her home located near Cathedral Oaks Road and North San Marcos Road. The last time her family talked to her was at 9:30 a.m. She has not been seen or heard from since. No foul play is suspected but her family is concerned about her welfare.”

The sheriff’s department would not comment nor was it immediately clear as to why the family would report Paula missing so quickly after last seen by the family. When Lopez was finally back with her family, the sheriff’s department said, “We are not commenting on the reasons surrounding why Ms. Lopez went missing due to the fact it is a private family matter.”

The sheriff’s department said that earlier when the missing person’s report was made, it prompted a search that was assisted by the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit helicopter as well as using K-9 units.

Also, the general manager of KEYT, Mark Danielson, issued a written statement where he called the 11 p.m. news anchor, “a beloved member of the KEYT family.” The statement in regards to Lopez said, “We have been in touch with her family and know they, as well as local authorities, are doing everything possible to find her safe and sound,” the statement said. “It is clearly a difficult time for her family and our own family at KEYT. All of us at KEYT stand ready to assist in any way we can.”

Lopez spent six years in Los Angeles working at KCAL-TV Channel 9 and now co-anchors the station’s 11 p.m. broadcast in Santa Barbara. She has worked at KEYT for roughly two decades and first worked at the Santa Barbara station when she was an intern back in 1985.  Though she worked at one time for KCAL in Los Angeles, she decided to return to KEYT in 1996 so she could spend more time with her family.

Paula Lopez has three children and is married to Frank Ochoa, who is the Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge.

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