Dawn Viens, Calif. Woman Missing Nearly a Year; Case Given to Homicide Cops
LOMITA, Calif. (CBS) Dawn Viens was last seen Oct. 18, 2009 leaving her husband's successful restaurant in Lomita, Calif., according to friends and police, but her husband, David Viens, never reported her missing. After three weeks, concerned friends went to the police, and an investigation was begun.
Several days ago, Dawn's missing person's case was turned over to homicide detectives, although the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office says almost 11 months, there are no new leads.
One of the missing woman's friends, Joe Cacace, says he fears the worst for Dawn, 39, who he describes as having a beautiful smile. "The energy that came out of her was so positive," Cacace told a local paper, the Daily Breeze.
Cacace said that he knew something was wrong the day she reportedly disappeared because she didn't come by his motorcycle dealership for her daily chat. He said Dawn didn't have many friends, which makes it even more unlikely that she would disappear voluntarily without letting her small circle know, according to the paper.
Karen Patterson echoed that opinion. Patterson told the Daily Breeze in January that just a few days before Dawn disappeared Patterson told her she had been diagnosed with cancer.
"She [fell] on the floor," Patterson said. "She [was] devastated. I [couldn't] leave the restaurant without promising her she will go with me to the hospital."
But Dawn never showed for the appointment and when she called David Viens to ask where she was, Patterson says she got a very short answer: "He said 'she left me' and I said 'are you kidding me?'"
Patterson said David Viens told her they argued about Dawn needing to go to rehab and that she refused so he told her to get out, the Daily Breeze reported.
David Viens has been quiet about the case, telling the paper that his attorney would not let him talk about the it because the husband is always a suspect. According to a local Florida newspaper, The Islander, this is not David Viens' first brush with police.
In January 2005, he was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of opium, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was also arrested on suspicion of trafficking marijuana, according to the paper.
Authorities at the time said they suspected David Viens imported hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Anna Maria Island in a drug business that went on for years, according to a 2005 article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The couple owned a restaurant in Bradenton Beach, Fla., about 35 miles south of St. Petersburg.
The newspaper reported that Dawn Viens described her husband in sheriff's department reports as a "middle dealer."
"I just know that we have done well. And I'm not dumb. I know some of the things we have is due to the dealing," she told investigators, according to the Herald-Tribune.
Meanwhile, Dawn Viens' worried friend Joe Cacace says all the area restaurants and businesses have put Dawn's missing poster prominently in their front windows - all except for the restaurant Dawn owned with her husband, David.
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