By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Producers with the Investigation Discovery network show “Disappeared” arrived in Sequim on Wednesday evening, a day before Thursday's planned law enforcement search of a Port Townsend city park near the site where Lauryn R. Garrett, 23, was last seen.
Leslie Mattingly, one of the producers of the show, said she was researching missing-persons cases and was struck by the circumstances of Garrett's disappearance two weeks ago.
“A woman was at a bus stop, and then she was gone,” Mattingly said Thursday.
“It sounds like any sort of media exposure the case can get is good for the case.”
The missing woman's father, Fred Garrett of Sequim, has said he had expected her to take a bus from Port Townsend to Sequim on May 1.
A witness saw Lauryn Garrett at about 7:47 p.m. May 1 at the Haines Place Park and Ride in Port Townsend, next to the 80-acre Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park and near the Safeway supermarket on Sims Way.
She was seen just after that on Safeway surveillance video buying a bottle of vodka and a bottle of soda, Port Townsend police said.
She has not been seen or heard from since.
In its sixth season, “Disappeared” features recent missing-person cases.
It aims to spread awareness of ongoing search efforts and encourage viewers to come forward with new information, according to the show's website at http://tinyurl.com/pdn-disappeared.
Mattingly said her small production crew likely will be in the area for about a week.
She did not know when the episode featuring Garrett would air.
Her crew was planning to go to Port Townsend on Thursday to speak with law enforcement and would possibly will be on hand for the search of Kah Tai Lagoon park.
Joe Nole, chief criminal deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said Thursday that about 15 volunteers with Jefferson County Search and Rescue and members of the Sheriff's Office were set to begin an organized search of the park that evening.
“It's a city case. We're just assisting with the search,” Nole said.
Nole said searchers were planning to canvass walking trails on foot and search the shores of the lagoon by kayak.
A task force comprising Port Townsend police detectives, members of the Clallam and Jefferson sheriff's offices, and an FBI agent from the Poulsbo office was formed earlier this week to organize the investigation into Garrett's disappearance.
Officer Patrick Fudally, Port Townsend police spokesman, said the organized search was an effort to cross off the park as a possible location for Garrett, adding that the park has been patrolled before.
“We have probably done well over 10 or 12 different patrols related to the case [since Garrett went missing],” Fudally said.
Investigators were brought back to square one earlier this week after they learned a woman who police were told tried to cash a check of Garrett's on May 5 at the Port Townsend Safeway was in fact trying to cash a check of her own.
The woman had nothing to do with Garrett's disappearance, police said.
On Thursday, Fred Garrett said his daughter had a $55.50 check with her when she left the Pioneer Center North rehabilitation clinic in Sedro-Woolley on May 1.
The check, which he said has not been cashed, represented the money that remained in Lauryn Garrett's account at the clinic when she left.
Previous reports had erroneously reported the check was for $37 and that Lauryn Garrett had tried to cash the check at the Port Townsend Safeway on May 1.
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.
She called her father using a borrowed cellphone at the Haines Place Park and Ride the evening of May 1, and he thought the plan was for her to catch a bus to Sequim.
Fred Garrett said he learned after he hung up with his daughter that there were no more buses from Port Townsend to Sequim that night.
He called the number back but got the man to whom the phone belonged.
The man said he had already left the park and ride and was no longer near Lauryn Garrett.
“I assumed [Lauryn] would have called back,” Fred Garrett said.
“I don't know why she didn't call back. I know she didn't call any other family member.”
Police said the man who owned the phone saw Lauryn Garrett walk toward the nearby Safeway after she left two duffel bags in a tree-lined area near the park and ride.
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.
Police found Garrett's personal items and a receipt for the Safeway purchase in the recovered bag.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.