A man who leapt from a cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes Wednesday morning is considered a suspect in the disappearance and murder of his wife who was last seen 16 months ago.
David Viens, 43, the husband of Dawn Viens, 39, of Lomita, was rescued by fire and sheriff's deputies just after 9 a.m. Wednesday after falling nearly 90 feet. He was listed in critical condition at a nearby hospital.
Sheriff's Homicide investigators are continuing their investigation into circumstances surrounding Viens' jump at the 31500 block of Palos Verdes Drive West.
Viens' case was upgraded to murder suspect before he jumped.
Investigator's had found "traces of blood spattered in various locations of (Viens') house," sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman said.
"That led them to believe something had occurred in the house," he said.
Through previous interviews, investigators also obtained information that caused them to believe Viens had killed his wife, though Coleman did not elaborate on exactly what information.
When investigators learned Viens' car was near the cliff they were "concerned for his well-being," Coleman said. Police did not intend to arrest Viens, he said.
Investigators were concerned Viens might have committed suicide or that he might have been checking on the location of his wife's body, which has not been found, Coleman said.
Investigators had information Viens' vehicle was near Palos Verdes Drive West. When deputies arrived at the vehicle, they saw it drive away and followed it to Point Vicente Light House, sheriff's officials reported. They then 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 jumped off of the cliff, according to sheriff's officials.
If Viens survives his injuries he will be arrested and charged with the murder of his wife, Dawn Viens.
Viens did undergo surgery yesterday for intensive internal bleeding, Coleman said.
Viens has a "moderate" criminal past, he said, and did some state prison time for a drug charge.