By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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SHORELINE — A 23-year-old Sequim woman missing for five weeks has been seen alive in the King County city of Shoreline, Port Townsend police said Thursday.
Port Townsend detectives were able to collect surveillance footage from the store where Lauryn Garrett was seen and share it with her father, Fred Garrett of Sequim, who confirmed it was her.
“Definitely her,” said an elated Fred Garrett on Thursday.
“God bless living in a small town.”
Police said they no long consider Lauryn Garrett a missing person.
Officer Patrick Fudally, Port Townsend Police spokesman, said police have confirmed that she walked into a Fred Meyer in Shoreline, just north of Seattle, on Tuesday at about 5 p.m. and tried to return merchandise without a receipt with ID that was not hers, Fudally said.
The clerk at the Fred Meyer, a family friend of Garrett's, identified her and contacted Garrett's parents who contacted Port Townsend police, Fudally said.
“The clerk reported Lauryn did not appear to be in any physical or mental duress,” Fudally said.
“Based on Lauryn's confirmed identification by her father, the fact that she seems unwilling to contact family members, and there was no sign Lauryn was in duress or any danger, the Port Townsend Police in coordination with the task force members have determined Lauryn is no longer missing for the purpose of our investigation,” Fudally said in a news release.
“We would still encourage Lauryn to contact her family or law enforcement to ease her family's concerns,” Fudally continued.
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.
She was last seen on the North Olympic Peninsula on video surveillance footage at the Port Townsend Safeway as she purchased vodka and soda at about 8 p.m. May 1.
Just before she crossed the street to the Port Townsend Safeway, Garrett borrowed a cellphone from a man at the Haines Place Park and Ride to call her father.
She had arrived a day earlier than her father expected from the Pioneer Center North rehabilitation clinic in Sedro-Woolley.
He got off the phone thinking she would catch a bus to Sequim from Port Townsend. No buses were running to Sequim that time of night.
The last day she was seen, a witness said she left two duffel bags at the park and ride.
Her mother — Eleana Christianson, also of Sequim — found one of the bags May 7 near a trail through nearby Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park. The other bag has not been recovered.
Both the police and Garrett's family had distributed flyers with her photos.
Her family had expanded the search beyond the Peninsula while not ruling out that she might still have been in Port Townsend.
Last week, they distributed 452 bagged lunches, 350 in Seattle and the remainder in Port Townsend, in places where the homeless congregate.
The lunch bags had pictures of Garrett and contact information.
A task force — which includes representatives of the Port Townsend Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the Clallam County Sheriff's Office and the Poulsbo FBI office — was formed to look her her.
They had investigated leads in Shoreline, where Lauryn Garrett had lived from the end of 2012 to October 2013.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.