The disappearance of a former Anna Maria Island woman nearly a year ago is now being investigated as a homicide.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began searching for ex-Islander Dawn Marie Viens, 37, of Lomita, Calif., after she was reported missing Oct. 18, 2009.
The case, for close to a year, has been pursued as a missing person investigation by a detective in that division of the department.
But last week the sheriff’s department confirmed that two homicide detectives are now reviewing the case files and looking into Viens’ disappearance.
Viens was last seen leaving work at the Thyme Contemporary Cafe in Los Angeles County, which she was operating with husband David Robert Viens, according to the sheriff’s department.
She did not take her car or more than $600 in cash she had asked a friend to hold.
The Viens lived on Anna Maria Island several years ago. They owned a home in Holmes Beach and operated the Beach City Market in Bradenton Beach.
In 2005, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office led a raid at the market and home.
David Viens was arrested Jan. 6, 2005, on suspicion of marijuana possession 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 also was arrested on suspicion of trafficking marijuana.
Dawn Viens, at the time, described her husband to law enforcement as a “middle dealer,” according to newspaper archives.
On April 5, 2005, the state attorney dropped all the charges.
In Los Angeles County, the Viens had been operating Thyme Contemporary Cafe for less than a year before Dawn Viens disappeared.
She is described as having red hair, brown eyes, a tattoo of a yellow butterfly on her right hip, a star tattoo on an ankle and is about 110 pounds. She is about 5 feet 7 inches tall.
The sheriff’s department is asking that information about Viens’ whereabouts be reported to 323-890-5500.