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Originally published Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 7:26 AM

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California restaurant body search turns up nothing

A California man who jumped off a cliff upon learning he was suspected of killing his wife has taken responsibility for her death, but authorities still have been unable to find a body.

Associated Press

LOMITA, Calif. —

A California man who jumped off a cliff upon learning he was suspected of killing his wife has taken responsibility for her death, but authorities still have been unable to find a body.

Police came up empty Wednesday as they searched a restaurant for the remains of 39-year-old Dawn Viens.

Despite the fruitless search, Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives said they made a breakthrough with David Viens admitting 16 months after his wife went missing that he was responsible for her death.

"He made statements to the investigators implicating himself as being solely responsible for Dawn's death," sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman said. He did not say what had happened to her body.

Crews spent two days pulling up the concrete floors and sifting dirt at the Thyme Contemporary Cafe, a popular restaurant south of Los Angeles, after a cadaver-sniffing dog indicated there could be a body there. By Wednesday afternoon, assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said there was no evidence of any human remains at the restaurant.

Dawn Viens went missing soon after opening the eatery with her husband David Viens in the fall of 2009.

The 47-year-old husband jumped off a Rancho Palos Verdes cliff last week, after reading a newspaper report saying he was a suspect in his wife's disappearance and likely homicide.

He spotted detectives watching him and led them on a chase that ended when he pulled into a parking area near the edge of the cliff.

David Viens was with his live-in girlfriend, and both got out of the car and into an argument before he hopped a chain-link fence and plunged 80 feet onto rocks.

He smashed his ankles, a femur and his hips in the fall and is recovering in the hospital.

Coleman said David Viens would face unspecified charges once he has recovered more. Detectives are expected to submit the case to prosecutors soon.

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Associated Press writer Thomas Watkins contributed to this report.

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Information from: Daily Breeze, http://www.dailybreeze.com

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