(USA Today) -- The sudden disappearance - and equally sudden reappearance - of a local TV anchor in Santa Barbara quickly rocketed around the Internet, underscoring the personal fascination that viewers feel for the newspeople who come into their living rooms every evening.
Paula Lopez, anchor for KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara for 17 years, was first reported missing by family members at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department quickly scrambled a chopper, K-9 units, detectives and search teams. But at 5:30 p.m., her family checked in again to report that Lopez had turned up unharmed. A statement by KEYT said only that that Lopez, 48, was safe at home.
The Los Angeles Times said the circumstances surrounding the incident remained unclear, but that KEYT called it a "personal matter."
At KEYT online, viewer comments ranged from personal concern from Katie Thatcher ("Praying for her safe return and for her family. We love our Ms.Lopez.") to a question from Willie Tilton on why the police moved so fast ("I guess everyone needs to have ties with a TV Station! Remember 'it's not what you know, but who you know.' ")
Still another, commenter Carey Perez, was unhappy that the family wouldn't provide more details ("I just dont get it, this was national news and they wont even say where she was lol.")
It was the second story in February about a local anchor that has grabbed national attention.
A news anchor for WCBS in New York City resigned last week following allegations that he choked his wife, CBS MoneyWatch anchor Ashley Morrison, in their Darien, Conn., home.
Darien police said the alleged incident occurred after Rob Morrison became "increasingly belligerent ... during the course of the evening."
He was arrested on charges of second-degree strangulation, second-degree threatening and disorderly conduct.
The Darien Times reported that police had been called to a similar incident at the Morrison home in January, but that Rob was not arrested after his wife retracted her sworn statement on the matter.
After his arrest last week, Rob Morrison resigned from WCBS, saying in a statement that "I need to put all of my time and energy into making sure that I do what's best for my wife and my son."
At a court hearing, he denied that he had choked or hit his wife, The Darien Times reported. The couple, through their lawyer, also issued a joint statement calling the charges against Morrison "greatly exaggerated, The New York Times reported.
In one of the more unusual incidents involving local TV personalities, Bangor news co-anchors Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio announced without warning their joint resignations at the end of a 6 p.m. newscast in November.
The Bangor Daily News said the newspaper's online story about the resignation of the pair from the sister stations WVII and WFVX drew more than 350,000 views within 24 hours.
In their farewell statements, Consiglio said, without elaborating, that "recent developments have come to our attention ... and departing together is the best alternative we can take." Michaels added that "you are a wonderful community, Bangor, and we are very sad to say goodbye for now."
They then hugged, took off their mics, closed their laptop computers and left the set.
"It's a culmination of ongoing occurrences that took place the last several years and basically involved upper-management practices that we both strongly disagreed with," Michaels told the Daily News. "It's a little complicated, but we were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general."
Mike Palmer, vice president and GM for the sister stations, said he thinks the pair, who had worked together for six years, had decided on the joint departure because Consiglio's job was being offered to someone else and Michaels did not want to continue working without him, the Daily News reported.
That prompted commenter Bear-Ninja on the Daily News website to observe: "Nobody with integrity would have done such a thing" while Gambler16 told the former anchors, "Be proud that you are an honest journalist."
Also in November, anchor Amanda Davis at Atlanta's FOX5 station, was arrested in Atlanta for DUI and reckless driving following a head-on collision,11Alive Newsreported.
Davis, who is on a leave of absence pending her trial, has worked as an anchor and reporter at FOX5 for 26 years.
Among the comments on Access Atlanta's blog Radio and TV Talk, Davis was described as an "icon" in Atlanta.
Said a commenter named Angela: "I love Amanda. It was a stupid mistake (if true) but don't judge her. I hope she still has her job. She is one of the best on TV!!"