Police, family frustrated as search for missing woman finds no clues

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The two-week mark has come and gone with not much more than frustration to show in the search for a 23-year-old Sequim woman who has been missing since May 1.

“We're really doing everything we can to find her, and you get frustrated when [the efforts are] unsuccessful,” Port Townsend Police Chief Conner Daily said Friday.

Lauryn R. Garrett, a 2009 Sequim High School graduate, was last seen at the Port Townsend Safeway supermarket just before 8 p.m. May 1.

Officer Patrick Fudally, police spokesman, said Saturday that detectives are continuing to follow up on leads but had no new information to share on the case.

For three hours Thursday evening, volunteers with Jefferson County Search and Rescue, county sheriff's deputies and a police detective scoured the trails and bushes of the city's Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park, just east of the Safeway where Garrett was last seen.

The banks of the lagoon in the center of the 80-acre park were also checked by searchers in kayaks, Fudally said Friday.

“[The search] turned up nothing of use,” he said.

Lauryn Garrett's father, Fred Garrett of Sequim, said he had expected her to return home by bus from Port Townsend after the two spoke May 1.

She had come from a rehabilitation clinic in Sedro-Woolley a day earlier than she was scheduled to return.

Throughout the investigation, Fred Garrett said, family and friends have done all they can.

“There's been a large outpouring of support and [asking], 'What can I do? How can I help?'” Fred Garrett said.

He added, though, that he has had to come to terms with the fact that there really isn't much his daughter's loved ones can do for now.

“I know there are a lot of people out there that are just as frustrated as I am not being able to do anything at this point,” he said.

Lauryn Garrett was last seen at about 7:47 p.m. May 1 at the Haines Place Park and Ride next to the Kah Tai nature park when she borrowed a cellphone from a man to call her father.

Just after that, her image was captured on Safeway surveillance video as she bought vodka and soda, police said.

Television producers with the Investigation Discovery network show “Disappeared” arrived in Sequim on Wednesday evening and are planning to feature Garrett's story in a future episode of the show.

Leslie Mattingly, one of the show's producers, said Saturday her crew is planning to be filming on the North Olympic Peninsula likely until this Thursday.

She did not know when the episode would air.

A task force comprising police detectives, members of the Clallam and Jefferson sheriff's offices, and an FBI agent from the Poulsbo office was formed earlier last week to organize the investigation into Garrett's disappearance.

Fred Garrett said he had expected to pick his daughter up at 10 a.m. May 2 at the Port Townsend ferry dock but that she arrived a day early, calling him from the park and ride.

He thought she would take a bus to Sequim. No buses run at that hour from Port Townsend to Sequim.

She had a $55.50 check with her when she left the Pioneer Center North rehabilitation clinic in Sedro-Woolley on May 1, her father had said, adding that the check hasn't been cashed.

Police said she was seen leaving two duffel bags near the park and ride before walking to Safeway.

The missing woman's mother, Eleana Livingston-Christianson of Sequim, found one of the two duffel bags in bushes near the park and ride May 7.

The other bag has not been found, police said.

Fred Garrett described his daughter as a free spirit and an imaginative, creative person who makes friends easily.

“She gets along with everybody,” he said.

Lauryn excelled in multiple sports while in high school, Fred Garrett said, and also enjoyed acting in school plays.

The Peninsula Daily News named Lauryn Garrett to the all-Peninsula track-and-field team two years in a row: as a junior in 2008 and again as a senior in 2009.

Described then as the Peninsula's top hurdler, she qualified for state competition in hurdles in both 2008 and 2009, placing seventh in the 100-meter hurdles in her senior year.

When asked whether there was anything he would like his daughter to know, Fred Garrett said, “I would just say that I love her.

“In my mind, this isn't a mission to bring Lauryn home; it's a mission to find that she's safe and well.”

Lauryn Garrett is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs between 120 and 130 pounds. She has brown hair and hazel eyes.

She has a tattoo of a bird behind her left ear and a tattoo of Washington state on her right wrist.

Anyone with information about Garrett's whereabouts should phone police at 360-385-3831, ext. 1, or, if it's an emergency matter, 9-1-1.

________

Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 17. 2014 9:39PM
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