CRIME
02/28/2013 10:15 am ET Updated Feb 28, 2013

Paula Lopez Found Safe, But Family Won't Say Why Santa Barbara News Anchor Went Missing

A Santa Barbara anchorwoman reported missing Wednesday morning is back home, but her relatives and law enforcement officials won't explain what happened.

The county sheriff quickly dispatched a large search mission after Paula Lopez's family said she disappeared.

But after the KEYT nightly news anchor was reported home at 5:30 p.m. -- about eight hours after she was last seen -- her family declined to explain what happened, her station KEYT announced.

"Paula has been located," a spokesman said outside the home where Lopez, 48, lives with her husband Frank Ochoa, a Superior Court judge and their three children. "We're not giving out any details now," he said according to the Los Angeles Times.

The sheriff's office also refused to elaborate on what happened.

"We are not commenting on the reasons surrounding why Ms. Lopez went missing due to the fact it is a private family matter," said department spokesperson Kelly Hoover, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.

Many aspects of her disappearance and return remain puzzling. A family called the sheriff's office at 10 a.m. saying that Lopez was missing, although she had been seen in her home 30 minutes earlier, ABC News said.

The sheriff's office unleashed a major search, including dogs and a helicopter, although it's more common for police to wait 24 hours before initiating such a mission. When news broke that a search was underway, the sheriff's office said that they didn't believe foul play was involved.

Lopez hosts the 11 p.m. news for KEYT where she began working as an intern in 1985, according to her biography. For six years she worked for Los Angeles' KCAL, but returned to the ABC affiliate in Santa Barbara in 1996.

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