Wednesday, February 10 , 2016, 9:55 am | Fair 64º

KEYT’s Paula Lopez Absent Again from Newscasts

It's unclear whether the anchor's hiatus is related to the same medical issues that led to her disappearance in February

KEYT News’ Paula Lopez returned to the anchor desk briefly in early April, six weeks after her daylong disappearance became the focus of media attention and an extensive search by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
KEYT News’ Paula Lopez returned to the anchor desk briefly in early April, six weeks after her daylong disappearance became the focus of media attention and an extensive search by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

KEYT 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 C.J. 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 home in the foothills west of Santa Barbara.

In an interview last month, Lopez, who is married to Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa, defended the swift actions of law enforcement, thanked supporters and expressed excitement at returning to work.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 05.03.13 @ 01:42 AM

Wishing her well.

» on 05.03.13 @ 01:42 AM

And missing her face.  <3

» on 05.03.13 @ 10:14 AM

When does pneumonia and dehydration cause someone to disappear?  This entire story is bogus and completely unacceptable.  If she can’t be honest about her motives for walking away, she has no business being a public figure, especially in a small town like Santa Barbara.  There is obviously something more to this story.  I respect everyone’s right to privacy, but when you are a public figure, and when you use public resources for personal reasons, there is a price to be paid.  As far as I am concerned, she owes the city and county for the cost of the search and the bill is past due.

» on 05.03.13 @ 11:29 AM

At least they did not call in the Sheriff’s helicopter, K-9 teams and all the other resources!

» on 05.03.13 @ 11:54 AM

Haters gotta hate. Always a conspiracy.  I’ve got plenty of tinfoil hats for sale.

Best wishes to Paula.

» on 05.03.13 @ 12:43 PM

The secrecy is the only thing keeping this in the news- if they would come out with whatever it is the story would go away and everyone would move on.
She is a public figure, and that is why people are talking about it.
Even Catherine Zeta Jones came out with her Bipolar disorder and admitted to getting treatment and the story has remained quiet since.

» on 05.03.13 @ 12:55 PM

your world must be small and boring to come on here and take time to rip on a tv news anchor.

maybe not so much money management columns but more tmz reporting.

» on 05.03.13 @ 01:04 PM

I hear that Bill Brown has promised to personally lead the next search.

» on 05.03.13 @ 03:38 PM

I happen to really like Paula Lopez. However, I have found it disheartening that she has not been able to be forth coming regarding her health issues. I happen to know a portion of the truth and if only she knew how coming forward could help those in the community! When I realized that we shared similar struggles, by a chance run in at a facility I was seeking treatment in, I only liked her that much more. It’s a shame that she has stepped away from the newsroom once again. I hope that she can persevere, and perhaps realize how sharing the truth might help her (and those in the community) all the more in the end.

» on 05.03.13 @ 03:40 PM

Let’s get this straight: she misses work because she’s “working too much” to attend to serious medical issues like pneumonia?  Her “work” involves showing up for makeup and hair, then sitting in an air-filtered studio and reading a teleprompter (and not wonderfully, we’ve all noticed).  She’s not exactly an ER nurse working double shifts, folks.
CraigAllen’s got a clue.  Her prior “disappearance” which became THE story of the day and undoubtedly cost the county multiple thousands of dollars of PUBLIC funds somehow remains unreported because it’s suddenly “a private” issue.  Really?  then why does the local media report the most intimate details of arrestees (i.e. “homeless” Jerry Cox) or victims of crime (“Amy” in Orcutt) or those involved in dropped charges (Dario Pini).  The hypocrisy of the local reportage is stunning.
In an era where mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, anxiety, bad marriages, lousy employment contracts…the entire gamut of human frailty is now fodder for full disclosure, where these human events are the subject of open and free discourse as a means of confronting and solving these issues…who the hell is this woman to be excused from coming clean and assuring her slavering fans that she’s human and dealing with her problems just as we all must?  Oh, silly us…we forget that she’s the wife of a somnolent judge who’s only looking to use his current (elected, one should keep in mind, and undoubtedly fearing a lost election in his future) position as a stepping stone to an even easier gig of reading appellate briefs? 
The Ochoas posture themselves as community leaders and show up at every conceivable event where there might be a microphone present…and now they fall silent?  She’s so “excited” to return to work that…she isn’t showing up?  They need a better story.

» on 05.03.13 @ 03:53 PM

All of us face challenges in life.  Paula Lopez has personally done nothing to warrant such calumny from the likes of Craig Allen and his ilk.  The lady apparently has some challenge she is facing.  But for one who has been a positive force in SB for many years it seems to me the humane thing to do would be to wish her well and leave her alone.

Craig Allen and his fellow miscreants are to be pitied for their lack of humanity.

» on 05.03.13 @ 07:18 PM

Craig Allen is right in criticizing Ms Lopez (a public figure who caused the county to spend considerable resources) for lying to the public and the media for reporting an inaccurate story. When I read a story in Noozhawk or anywhere else, I expect it to be factually accurate. If I can’t trust the media to get it right, then it loses whatever credibility it has built up and we all lose out in the end.

I would rather Noozhawk not publish anything with regard to her then perpetuate an obvious lie to its readers. How ironic that a member of the press is not telling the truth to the public.

» on 05.03.13 @ 10:09 PM

I always wonder how people with no direct involvement in a situation are so sure the reporting is an “obvious lie”...

» on 05.03.13 @ 11:20 PM

John Locke, because the entire story doesn’t make any sense. First, she is sick with pneumonia and dehydration, and for this reason she is somehow lost, triggering a massive search for her. She gets well, goes back to work and now she is absent for two weeks, and the general manager of the station can’t comment.

I won’t speculate what is going on (I really don’t care) but I don’t like a anyone misleading the public (by omission or hedging), particularly when it is a member of the press, who you would think would understand the necessity for being truthful in her statements to the media. When politicians lie or prevaricate, I judge them harshly, so there is no reason why I would treat a TV anchorwoman any different.

» on 05.04.13 @ 01:16 AM

Well, it’s pretty obvious, from a previous commenter, that Paula has been or is in rehab and trying to resolve her issues. That’s good enough, and understandable. Given that information, let’s all lay off her and let her mend. Unkind words and innumerable arrows slung are of no benefit. Good wishes and a few prayers thrown in will help more than anything else.

Good luck, Paula. Hurry back. We support you and we miss you.

» on 05.04.13 @ 01:16 PM

Paula Lopez business is her business. What goes on in her personal life is not for others to speculate about. It is not her fault that she is a well-known public figure and she is married to an influential judge in Santa Barbara.  If ordinary folks feel they don’t get preferential treatment from the police and other authorities then it is because they are ordinary folks. That is not necessarily right or fair but it is what it is.  Anonymous posters should not hide behind their computer keyboards and make sarcastic and hateful comments about people they don’t know anything about.  There are far too many writers that make egregious and negative personal comments that are posted on this site.  I have written before that it is sickening to read the racist and hateful comments that have been directed towards certain people because they happen to be “Mexican” or “Mexican-American” or immigrants. As long as posters continue with their bigoted and hateful remarks I will continue to challenge their ignorant and uniformed views and call them out. If Noozhawk doesn’t monitor and respond to these racists then I will.

» on 05.04.13 @ 01:40 PM

My point, lou segal, is that you do not KNOW, as in take-it-to-court-and-testify KNOW, of lies.  You SUSPECT there are lies, you BELIEVE there are lies.  But you do not KNOW there are lies.  Big difference.

» on 05.04.13 @ 05:33 PM

Laredo if they are “Mexican” then they need to return to Mexico!
If they are American then they need to be American and stop bringing up the La Raza nonsense.  Oddly enough it the so called minority that becomes the most racist among us.  Of course this has nothing to do with Lopez or her “influential” (are any judges not?) husband.  I wish them all the best, but you cannot be in the public spotlight and then pick and chose what is covered by the media.

» on 05.04.13 @ 07:51 PM

Beachgoer and others who question my motives for criticizing Lopez please note - I do not care about her personal problems, whether they are actually medical (highly doubtful), mental, drug-related, etc.  I am not here to speculate on that and if she chooses to keep that quiet, she has that right.  What I take issue with is her lying about it and using public resources for the search.  If her issue is pneumonia and dehydration, that is not an acceptable illness to warrant a public search and she should therefore pay for the costs to the city and county - there is no medical reason or explanation for someone with those medical conditions to disappear.  If it is something else, she should not have lied and said it was pneumonia and dehydration.  If you use public funds for a search, you should disclose the reason for the search to the public to justify the expense to the city and county.  We have a right to know why our tax dollars are being spent, period.  If she was just absent from work, no one would care about why and I would certainly not be commenting.

» on 05.04.13 @ 10:52 PM

The posters, who are rationalizing her actions, don’t see the irony of a member of the press putting out false statements to the media. I guess lying is now so prevalent, it has become an acceptable part of our public discourse.

» on 05.07.13 @ 03:31 PM

Apparently lou segal doesn’t understand the difference between his opinion and facts.  We know your opinion, lou segal.  We don’t know the facts.

» on 05.11.13 @ 01:13 AM

Love that Paula. Just like I miss Joe Gehl.  KEYT must treat their people really crappy to have them being fired and stressing out so.  Anybody who thinks they know the “partial story” could be all wrong, and if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut and your nose in your own business.  You can’t fake the kind of calm equanimity that Paula has, so forget any hint of bipolar, no way.  Truth is always stranger than fiction so fuggedoutit and send her love as you would a friend.

» on 05.11.13 @ 03:39 AM

I’m wondering where Craigallen got his medical license…..Dehydration can cause confusion and psychosis.  Someone who goes missing with that medical condition could be in serious trouble.  As far as the quick response.  When a celebrity or a wife of a judge goes missing the early suggestion would be that that person has been kidnapped and an appropriate response such as a search is not unreasonable.

» on 05.11.13 @ 05:59 PM

Craig Allen = busybody. Why would anyone ever consult this guy ?

» on 05.11.13 @ 09:29 PM

For all the posters who are defending Paula Lopez, let’s for the sake of argument say that she put out a press release that was at best misleading or at worst not true. You guys don’t see the problem or at least the irony of having members of the press releasing statements to the public which are inaccurate or untrue. You don’t think those in the media shouldn’t be held to a higher standard for truthfulness and honesty? I guess I am old fashioned about this issue, but if a reporter or a news anchor is caught lying in their coverage of the news (including themselves when they are the news), there should be no excuses.

» on 05.12.13 @ 04:35 PM

If Paula or anyone else is having problems with drug abuse Scientology’s Narconon Program will help them. Just go to the Scientology Church on State St. for more information.

» on 05.12.13 @ 05:49 PM

Who is this Lou guy and why does he keep talking about Paula’s news release?  I see no press release FROM her, just ABOUT her.  Support with facts or let it go.  She was in the news because she is a celebrity in our town.  It could have been, could still be for all we know, a kidnapping.  It’s part of her job.  Not her fault she fell ill or whatever.  She did not claim she was abducted, she did not claim anything.  Leave her the hell alone.

» on 05.13.13 @ 11:29 AM

I wish you well Paula and sincerely hope all is well with you.

» on 05.13.13 @ 02:50 PM

Best to Ms. Lopez and her family.  I agree that this is no one’s business but theirs, but she is a public figure and because we care, would be nice to just tell us what is happening and move on.  If she is not coming back, fine, just move on with her life and take care of herself, which is what is really important.  Secrets are only fueling the stupid comments.

» on 05.13.13 @ 07:35 PM

It’s purely and simply KARMA, children.  Frank Ochoa is a functional tool of Joyce Dudley and her minions. Sit through a criminal trial over which he presides.  He’s a ruthless political hack and everyone who goes before him knows it.  So now his family is getting some bad press? Boo-hoo.

» on 05.19.13 @ 08:44 PM

I saw Paula this morning near the beach. She was walking and smiling and looking as pretty and sweet as ever.  She said hello as we were passing and I got the sense that she is obviously doing better than ever.

» on 05.24.13 @ 05:48 PM

Hey, at least they’ve stopped saying “Paula has the night off” at the start of every 11PM broadcast. Yea, we get it…

» on 08.02.13 @ 08:24 AM

Hopefully the family will get her the help she needs asap.

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