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Missing woman's body not found at Lomita café

March 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Officials were at Thyme Contemporary Café in Lomita tearing up recently poured concrete to search for the body of a woman who may have been killed by her husband, but the search was called off.

David Viens, the owner of a once-popular Lomita restaurant, has confessed that he killed his wife, who's been missing for a year and a half.

After a day of digging, the mystery remains: Where is Dawn Viens? The 39-year-old hasn't been seen since October 2009.

Authorities thought they were going to find her body buried beneath the concrete at the Lomita restaurant.

"The dog seemed interested in some areas, but we did not get an alert, and as I said, there were test pits dug, and we did not get any remains," said Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter.

Authorities spent the day tearing up the back patio and shed area of the café after David Viens allegedly confessed to the crime after learning he was the prime suspect.

"His girlfriend confronted him with that newspaper article, and at that time he did confess to her that he had committed the murder," said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman.

Detectives believed Viens had buried his wife's body in the cement while remodeling the restaurant shortly after she disappeared.

Dawn Viens's sister, Dayna Papin, says she always suspected he was involved.

"He lost it on me two months ago, started screaming at me, threatened to call the police on me, to get off his property. I know now he couldn't look me in the eye anymore," said Papin.

Authorities say so far Viens has not said what he did with his wife's body.

Now as the missing Dawn is remembered outside the restaurant, the search for her there has been called off.

"I don't know what version he gave the detectives but we have not located any human remains at this time at this location," said Winter.

David Viens is under arrest on suspicion of murder at a local hospital where he's recovering after attempting to commit suicide by jumping of a Rancho Palos Verdes cliff last week.