(UPDATE: 7 p.m. Wednesday)
SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com) — Paula Lopez, a former anchor at KCAL9, was reported missing Wednesday but her family says she is now home safe and sound.
Lopez, who currently anchors the 11 p.m. news for KEYT in Santa Barbara was reported missing Wednesday morning, according to the Santa Barbara station.
KEYT’s General Manager Mark Danielson wrote in a statement, “This morning we learned that a beloved member of the KEYT family, Paula Lopez has gone missing. 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. 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. For now, on behalf of KEYT and NPG of California our thoughts and prayers are extended to Paula as well as her family and those searching to find her. We hope for her safe and speedy return.”
Lopez, 48, started at ABC affiliate KEYT in 1985 as an intern while attending UC Santa Barbara. She worked her way up to the anchor desk and then moved to Los Angeles where she anchored the KCAL9 News for several years in the early 90’s.
She left KCAL in 1996 to return to Santa Barbara and spend more time with her family.
Just after 10 a.m., the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office received a call from concerned family members that Lopez was missing. Her family last made contact with her about a half hour earlier.
Officials are searching near her home with two K-9 units and a Santa Barbara County Air Support. Authorities do not suspect foul play but family is concerned for her welfare.
In 2010, she was interviewed by Santa Barbara’s “Noozhawk.” Lopez made reference to her three children (Diego, now 18, and twins Alana and Olivia, now 14)) and her husband, Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa.
Her husband has made national news as the judge in several high-profile cases, most recently the controversy surrounding actor Randy Quaid and his wife.