DOWNTOWN — Police on Thursday were still searching for a 19-year-old English woman and were questioning her traveling companion, who was taken into custody for a weapons violation after being spotted in Venice.
Leona Dawn Perryman was last seen just before midnight Dec. 18 in Santa Monica, said Santa Monica police Sgt. Jay Trisler. Perryman arrived in the United States with 45-year-old Paul Alfred Atkinson on Oct. 13, he said.
Atkinson was arrested Wednesday night in Venice while eating at a restaurant near Pacific and Windward avenues. He was questioned Thursday as he was being held for possession of a concealed, dangerous weapon, which Trisler said was a knife.
The offense was unrelated to the missing person investigation.
“Detectives are questioning him,” Trisler said. Atkinson is described as a “person of interest” in Perryman’s disappearance. He was tracked down following a tip from a civilian who saw Atkinson’s picture on the news, Trisler said.
“We don’t have information of foul play,” Trisler said. “The subject of interest we were looking for came to the police department and was open with us. He said she had left the motel and was possibly going to an Internet cafe or the beach.”
Perryman and Atkinson were “here on a vacation” and had planned to return to England on Jan. 7. The two were staying at a motel in Santa Monica at the time of her disappearance and had also spent time in West Hollywood and Venice, police said.
It was Atkinson who reported Perryman missing, Trisler said. After she vanished, Atkinson left the motel and is believed to have been living on the street, according to police.
Atkinson’s bail was set at $20,000. He has a court appearance scheduled Monday at the Airport Branch Courthouse on La Cienega Boulevard, according to jail records.
Perryman is white with blonde hair and blue eyes, about 5–feet-7-inches tall and 130 pounds. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to call Santa Monica police at (310) 458-8495. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can also contact the WeTip hotline at (800) 78-CRIME (1-800-782-7463), or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. Tipsters are eligible for a reward, up to $1,000, if information provided leads to an arrest and conviction.