THIS STORY WAS UPDATED ON MAY 12 — ‘Back to square one’ as police say woman in surveillance photos not connected to disappearance of Lauryn Garrett — http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140512/NEWS/305139999
PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend police have released security camera photos of a woman they say tried to cash a check written to a missing Sequim woman.
The unidentified woman tried to cash a check written out to Lauryn R. Garrett, 23, at the Safeway store on Sims Way at 8 a.m. Monday, Officer Patrick Fudally, police spokesman, said Saturday.
“If anyone knows who she is and can identify her, we would love a phone call” at 360-385-3831, ext. 1, Fudally said.
“We just want to identify her and speak with her,” he continued.
“I wouldn’t call her a person of interest,” he said.
“We have no evidence at all of foul play.”
Garrett was last seen at about 7:30 p.m. May 1 walking from the Haines Place Park and Ride in Port Townsend to the nearby Safeway, Fudally said.
Earlier reports erroneously stated that Garrett had tried to cash the check herself May 1.
After receiving a tip from the woman’s father, Fred Garrett, that someone had tried to cash a check written to his daughter, police confirmed with a Safeway manager that a woman in her 20s had tried to cash a $37 check.
The woman trying to cash the check said it had been written to Lauryn Garrett, according to the manager, Fudally said.
The woman offered an expired passport as identification to cash the check, and the manager turned her away after seeing the expired date, Fudally said, adding that the manager didn’t see the photo or the name on the document.
“We don’t have any information to lead us one way or the other on how [the woman] came across the check or why she was trying to cash it,” Fudally said.
The woman then left Safeway with the check, walking north, Fudally said.
The woman’s image on Safeway surveillance video was shown to the Garretts, who confirmed that the woman was not their daughter, Fudally said.
“We’ve been attempting to identify [the woman], but we have no information on her, so it’s been difficult,” he said.
“Identifying her would be a top priority for us, but again, we have very little to go on as far as identifying her.”
Fred Garrett told the Peninsula Daily News on Saturday that as of Friday evening, the check had not been cashed.
Fudally said other leads have not led to any useful information.
“At this point, we haven’t ruled anything out one way or another. We’re just really wanting to find some concrete information on her, to find her and find out what’s been going on,” he said.
Her father had said he had expected her home in Sequim on May 1.
A witness whose phone Lauryn Garrett borrowed the evening of May 1 to call her father told police he saw her walking toward the Safeway after she left two duffle bags in a tree-lined area near the Haines Place Park and Ride.
Fudally said he did not know the specifics of the conversation the 23-year-old had with her father but that Fred Garrett told police his daughter was planning to catch a bus back to Sequim.
Lauryn Garrett was last seen that evening on Safeway surveillance video buying a bottle of vodka and a bottle of soda, Fudally said.
The missing woman’s mother, Eleana Livingston-Christianson of Sequim, found one of the two duffle bags in bushes near the park and ride Wednesday, Fudally said, but the other bag has not been found.
Police found Garrett’s personal items and a receipt for the Safeway purchase in the recovered bag, Fudally said.
“We knew she went back to the park and ride. We just don’t have video evidence or witnesses,” he said.
She has not been seen since.
“We have no physical evidence that she’s in Port Townsend, but we have no evidence that she’s left Port Townsend,” Fudally said.
He said officers had patrolled Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park, which lies just east of the park and ride, and known transient camps and found no trace of her.
“We’ve had actually no credible information to even point us in a general direction at this point,” Fudally said.
Garrett is 5 feet, 7 inches tall; weighs between 120 and 130 pounds; and 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 headed back from a treatment center in the Sedro-Woolley area May 1, a day earlier than she had originally planned, Fudally said.
Fudally said no people of interest in the case have been identified.
Anyone who sees Garrett or knows of her whereabouts is asked to dial either 9-1-1 if it’s an emergency matter or the Port Townsend Police Department at 360-385-3831, ext. 1, for non-emergencies.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at [email protected]