Missing TV anchor Paula Lopez last seen at home, authorities say
Santa Barbara authorities confirmed that they are searching for a longtime television anchor who was last seen at her home Wednesday morning.
Paula Lopez, 48, an anchor for KEYT-TV Channel 3, spoke to her family about 9:30 a.m. and "has not been seen or heard from since," according to Santa Barbara sheriff's officials. No foul play was immediately suspected, authorities said, "but her family is concerned about her welfare."
Deputies have searched the area around Lopez's home near Cathedral Oaks and North San Marcos roads. Search and rescue personnel were combing the area using dogs and a helicopter.
Lopez is 5-foot-2 and was last seen wearing a black sweat suit and tennis shoes. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call detectives at (805) 681-150.
KEYT-TV Channel 3 said in a statement that it had learned Wednesday morning that Paula Lopez had "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," KEYT General Manager Mark Danielson said. "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 has spent the better part of two decades at KEYT, first joining the Santa Barbara station as an intern in 1985, according to her biography on KEYT's website. She spent six years at KCAL-TV Channel 9 in Los Angeles, but returned to KEYT in 1996 to spend more time with her family.
Lopez is married to Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa, her biography says. They have three children.
[For the record, 6:41 p.m.: A previous version of this post transposed the station's call letters as KYET.]
— Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather
Photo: Paula Lopez Credit: KEYT-TV