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L.A. chef told police he slow-cooked his wife's body for days

September 18, 2012 |  4:05 pm

 Dawn and David Viens.

A Los Angeles-area chef on trial in his wife's slaying told authorities the reason they couldn't find her body was because he slow-cooked it for days, then disposed of the remains.

David Viens' wife, Dawn Viens, disappeared in October 2009. In March 2011, David Viens told sheriff's investigators why they hadn't been able to find the body of his wife, who'd been missing for nearly a year and half.

"I just slowly cooked it and I ended up cooking her for four days," said Viens, a chef who ran a restaurant in Lomita, according to an interview played for jurors Tuesday.

Viens had already told investigators that, one October night in 2009, he taped his wife's mouth and bound her hands and feet with duct tape. The next morning, Dawn Viens was dead. That account is strikingly similar to what David Viens later told his daughter and ex-girlfriend, who testified for the prosecution last week.

Sgt. Richard Garcia asked Viens what happened the night of Oct. 18, the last time his wife was seen.

"For some reason I just got violent," Viens said, according to an interview played for a Los Angeles jury Tuesday.

In the second of two interviews Viens gave to investigators in March 2011, he said he stuffed his wife's lifeless body into a  55-gallon drum of boiling water and kept it submerged with weights. After four days, he mixed much of what remained with other waste and then disposed of it.

The only thing left, Viens said in the interview, was his wife's skull. He said he stashed it at his mother's house. Authorities scoured his mother's attic but found nothing.

In March 2011, while hospitalized after leaping off an 80-foot cliff, Viens spoke to Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators. They wanted to know whether he'd killed his wife, who had vanished nearly five months before.

Viens has pleaded not guilty to killing his wife, whose body was never found. After Viens learned investigators suspected he had killed her, he jumped off the cliff -- feet first, hands extended over his head -- in Rancho Palos Verdes. That's how he ended up in the hospital, so severely injured that he is attending his murder trial in a wheelchair.


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Photo: Dawn and David Viens. Credit: KTLA-TV, Channel 5