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LDS teen found safe

Exchange student shows up at Brazil police station

Mykensie Martin and friend Marco Alves at police station.
Mykensie Martin and friend Marco Alves at police station.
Inacio Texeira, Associated Press

PROVO — The news that 17-year-old Mykensie Martin was found safe in northeastern Brazil on Thursday was met with relief by her siblings at Brigham Young University.

"We're feeling really happy," said Cody Martin, Mykensie's older brother who, along with sister Mykle, attends BYU.

The relief of knowing that his sister is OK is "just really nice, way nice," Cody Martin added.

Mykensie Martin had been missing in Brazil since early Sunday, sparking an intense search by Brazilian authorities and the American Embassy. The high school exchange student from Bend, Ore., left her host city of Carmo do Paranaiba in the central state of Minas Gerais to travel 38 miles by bus to Patos de Minas, where she regularly attended Sunday services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On Thursday, Mykensie Martin arrived at a police station in the coastal city of Salvador, Lt. Alexandre Silva of the federal police in the state of Bahia told The Associated Press. Salvador is 688 miles northeast of Brasilia, Brazil's capital.

She is expected to be reunited today with her parents in Brasilia. Steve and Stephanie Martin were notified that their daughter was safe just before boarding a flight from Miami to Sao Paulo to join in the search.

As of Thursday afternoon, Cody Martin had not spoken with his parents since learning Monday night that his sister was missing. He's been in contact with his older brother, Jake, who lives in Bend, Ore., getting bits of information via telephone calls and e-mail.

"Ever since (Monday night), it's just been really hard," he said. "Even right now, we don't really know what happened. We just know she's been found."

Cody Martin said he expects to learn more about where his sister has been after she is reunited with their parents. For now, he's just glad Mykensie is safe.

"Hopefully, when she gets home, I'll talk to her on the phone," he said, "and if I can, I'd love to go home and see her."

Mykensie Martin was accompanied to the Salvador police station by a young Brazilian man from Salvador identified as Marcos Alves, a waiter at a beachside restaurant, according to The Associated Press. The two arrived with hands clutched and stayed arm in arm at the police station as a swarm of photographers snapped pictures.

Martin did not speak to reporters, but federal police spokeswoman Monica Horta said Alvez helped the teenage girl escape being robbed and assaulted Tuesday at a Salvador beach after she arrived from Brasilia on an overnight bus.

Martin then stayed at a vacant apartment Alvez arranged, though the two told police they were just friends. Eventually, Martin told Alvez that she had left her host family in central Brazil to go to Brasilia and then Salvador.

After arriving at the police station, Martin seemed "stressed, but there's nothing physically wrong with her that we can tell," said Rodrigo Koble, an Interpol agent who was at the station.

Before showing up in Salvador, Martin was last seen Sunday evening hitchhiking in Unai, a city 81 miles from Brasilia.

State police officer Nelson Garcia in Brasilia said officers interviewed workers at a small hotel in the capital who said the teen stayed there Sunday night and talked with them about places to visit in Brazil.

Kalina Ligia Saraiva, the owner of the hotel in Brasilia, told the local newspaper Correio Braziliense that Martin arrived at the hotel accompanied by a young Brazilian man who did not seem to know her very well. The man checked the teen into the hotel and paid for the room, left and returned the next morning about 7:30 a.m. to pick her up when she checked out, Saraiva said in a report on the newspaper's Web site.

"She seemed all right," Saraiva said. "It didn't look like it was a kidnapping."


Contributing: The Associated Press

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com