Officials Search for Body Under Cafe's Floor

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Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 9:30 AM
click to enlarge Restaurant owner/chef David Viens may have run out of thyme. - FLICKR/WORDRIDDEN
  • Flickr/WordRidden
  • Restaurant owner/chef David Viens may have run out of thyme.

According to the Los Angeles Times' LA Now blog, Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators and coroner's officials were busy digging up the floor of a Lomita restaurant Tuesday afternoon, looking for the remains of the owner's wife, who has been missing for 16 months. A clever cadaver-sniffing dog cracked the case.

Yes, that means that unsuspecting diners may have been chowing down for the last year-plus with a dead body literally under their feet. Or worse. The owner, David Viens, is also the chef. How very Sweeney Todd.

The grisly search comes a day after Viens, 47, was booked on suspicion of murder. He was arrested at a hospital, where he was recovering from injuries after jumping off an 80-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes last week while being pursued by deputies after a brief struggle with his girlfriend (who moved into his home shortly after his wife's disappearance). No, not suspicious at all.

Dawn Viens, 39, went missing after walking away from Thyme Contemporary Café at 24427 Narbonne Avenue (care to see a menu?) in October 2009. Authorities quickly zeroed in on her husband--who never reported her missing--as a suspect.

With the help of the dog, "we are excavating parts of the restaurant," Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told the L.A. Times. "We expect to be there for some time."

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