KEYT (Santa Barbara) News anchor Paula Lopez has been noticeably absent from behind the news desk the past two weeks, less than a month after an inaugural broadcast return that followed her brief disappearance.
Whether the hiatus has been prompted by the same medical issues she said led to her disappearance in February — and the all-out search to find her — is unknown.
What is clear, however, is that Lopez returned to the airwaves of the Central Coast’s ABC affiliate station on April 8, alongside CJ Ward, and was last seen on air April 19.
KEYT General Manager Mark Danielson told Noozhawk that he could not comment on an employee’s health or personal issues.
“I can tell you that KEYT and NPG continue to wish Paula well,” Danielson said. “I don’t have any information on when Paula might be able to return to work.”
Lopez, a 48-year-old mother of three, told Noozhawk last month that a combination of working too much while neglecting medical issues — including pneumonia and dehydration — caused a deterioration of her health on the morning of Feb. 27, when she was reported missing. She returned home safely eight hours later.
Lopez, KEYT officials and law enforcement have declined to elaborate further on what “medical issues” prompted the search, which was launched just 30 minutes after she was reported missing near her Goleta home.
In an interview last month, Lopez, who is married to Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa, defended the swift actions of law enforcement, thanked supporters and expressed excitement at returning to work.