Details of Disappearance Martinez-Fabila was initially reported missing in November 2018, after the Camp Fire destroyed almost the entire town of Paradise, California, where she lived, and killed 85 people.
Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Her last mailing address was a post office in Paradise, and when her family was unable to get in touch with her after the disaster, they reported her missing. They had not heard from her since weeks prior to the fire.
She is the only one of the people reported missing in the aftermath of the Camp Fire who is still unaccounted for. However, investigators are not sure whether Martinez-Fabila was still living in Paradise when the disaster happened.
It wasn't uncharacteristic of her to be out of touch with her family for extended time periods. She had had a hard life, including years of problems with domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness, and had lost custody of all five of her children. (They were adopted by her relatives.) However, a few years prior to her disappearance she went through an eighteen-month treatment program and resolved to turn her life around and stay on her psychiatric medication. She hoped to attend Chico State University.
About a month after the fire, on December 13, 2018, Martinez-Fabila was sighted when she attempted to check in for the night at the Brownsville Motel in Brownsville, California. She used the name Sara Martinez, and the manager later recognized her photograph and confirmed this was her.
The manager told Martinez-Fabila that the motel had no room available for her; all of them had been taken by people displaced by the Camp Fire. The manager suggested she ask the Red Cross for shelter, offered her food and water, and said if necessary she could sleep in her car in the motel parking lot for the night. Martinez-Fabila refused any assistance, however, and said she didn't want to sign up for any services because she "didn't want to be found." She drove away in what the manager called "an old beater car."
Martinez-Fabila has not been seen or heard from since she left the motel in Brownsville. Police would like to account for her whereabouts and well-being.
- Butte County Sheriff's Department
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 1, 2020; casefile added.