Lomita Man Admits to Killing Wife, Investigators Continue Search for Body

David Viens owns a Lomita restaurant where investigators believe his wife Dawn Viens' body might be hidden.

The husband of a missing Lomita woman admitted to killing her yesterday, as detectives searched his restaurant for her remains.

"He did make statements implicating himself in the murder of Dawn," sheriff's homicide Lt. Dave Coleman said.

Dawn Viens, 39, is the wife of David Viens, 47, owner of Thyme Contemporary Cafe in Lomita. Her husband is a suspect in her murder and disappearance. David last week and on suspicion of killing her.

He admitted to killing his wife during an interview with investigators Tuesday afternoon, Coleman said. Viens also told his girlfriend he had killed Dawn, he said.

The day after detectives began to tear apart a Lomita restaurant in search of Dawn's body, flowers and a sign rested at the front of the building in remembrance of the woman who has not been seen in 16 months.

Investigators began to dig up parts of the floor at the Lomita restaurant Tuesday and used a cadaver dog helped search the property at 24427 Narbonne Ave.

The cafe entrance is still blocked today with yellow caution tape. Lights are on inside the restaurant full of empty tables.

Working with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, investigators are using heavy equipment to remove tile and concrete foundation, Coleman said. Coroner's office officials will then continue investigating, he said.

Mary Rodriguez, of Gardena, just ate at the restaurant last week, the day before Viens jumped from the Rancho Palos Verdes cliff.

Rodriguez works at the dentist office next door where she said Viens came for teeth cleanings.

"We were pretty shocked that he (jumped) on Wednesday morning when we had lunch the day before," she said. "Everything seemed fine."

Coleman said Viens closed the restaurant for remodeling not long after his wife disappeared. The remodeling included pouring cement, he said.

"It's pretty weird he decided to remodel the whole thing after she went missing," Rodriguez said. "Maybe she might be there."

Rodriguez, a doctor's assistant, said she would run into David at the office. She described him as "typical" and "quiet."

"It's a shame," she said. "Next thing you know he's in this mess."

Viens was in serious condition as of Tuesday at County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after his nearly 90-foot fall last week and is still undergoing surgeries for his injuries.

Investigators had information Viens' vehicle was near Palos Verdes Drive West last Wednesday. Deputies followed Viens' car to Point Vicente Light House, sheriff's officials reported, where they saw Viens and his girlfriend in an altercation.

When police ordered Viens to stop what they believed was an act of domestic violence, Viens released his girlfriend, ran, and eapt off of the cliff, according to sheriff's officials.

Once Viens is well enough, he'll be charged and arraigned for his wife's murder, Coleman said.


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