Missing Santa Barbara TV anchor Paula Lopez found, returns home safe

Missing KEYT anchorwoman Paula Lopez.
Missing KEYT anchorwoman Paula Lopez.

UPDATE: KEYT reports that missing Santa Barbara TV anchor Paula Lopez has been found and is home safe. The station was alerted of her return home by Lopez's family.

The station was alerted shortly before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to KEYT. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff Department led the effort, along with Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue, KEYT reports.

NBC L.A.'s Kim Baldonado reports that the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department says it was one of their deputies who found Lopez.

— Mike Roe

Previously: Santa Barbara County authorities say the anchorwoman for television station KEYT has been reported missing.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover says Paula Lopez was reported missing by concerned family members on Wednesday morning.

Lopez was last seen wearing a black sweat suit. No foul play is suspected, but her family is concerned about her welfare.

Lopez is a co-anchor of the 11 p.m. newscast at the ABC affiliate, where she has worked since 1996. Before that, she worked at KCAL-9 in Los Angeles for six years according to her online biography.

In a statement, General Manager Mark Danielson says the station learned of Lopez' disappearance Wednesday morning and he hopes she'll be found.

The full 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.