URGENT — 'Back to square one' as police say woman in surveillance photos not connected to disappearance of Lauryn Garrett
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Photos of Lauryn Garrett, 23, missing since May 1. She has a tattoo behind the left ear of a bird and a tattoo on her right wrist of Washington state.

By PAUL GOTTLIEB
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A North Olympic Peninsula woman was mistakenly identified by police as having tried to cash a missing Sequim woman's check, a police spokesman said this morning.

Lauryn R. Garrett, 23, went missing at about 7:30 p.m. May 1 after she was last seen at the Haines Place Park and Ride and on her way to the nearby Safeway supermarket on Sims Way.

Police released surveillance-camera photos that appeared in Sunday's Peninsula Daily News of a woman in her 20s wearing glasses who police said was trying to cash Garrett's $37 check at the store.

Authorities subsequently received about a dozen tips, identified the woman, and spoke to her, police spokesman Patrick Fudally said this morning.

“The check was actually her check,” he said. “We spoke to her, and in no way, shape or form is it related to the missing woman.

“It was another dead end. We are basically back to square one. We do not have any credible leads to head down any certain path.”

The woman in the surveillance video was not identified by name. She could not cash her own check because she had outdated identification, Fudally said.

The Safeway manager had told police that the woman in the surveillance footage was trying to cash Garrett's check, Fudally said Saturday.

“What confused people was that she was trying to get bus fare to go to Sequim,” he said today.

The missing woman's father, Fred Garrett, had told police that when his daughter contacted him May 1, using a borrowed cell phone, she was in Port Townsend planning to catch a bus to Sequim.

It was the last contact he had with her. She was headed back to her home in Sequim after a stay in a rehabilitation clinic in Skagit County.

The father said his daughter had two checks in her possession when she vanished, Fudally said.

Neither one had been cashed as of this morning, police said.

First reports last week had erroneously stated that Garrett had tried to cash the check herself 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.

Lauryn Garrett was last seen that evening on Safeway surveillance video buying a bottle of vodka and a bottle of soda, Fudally said Saturday.

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.

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.

Anyone with information about Garrett's whereabouts should call Port Townsend police at 360-385-3831, ext. 1 or, if it's an emergency matter, 9-1-1.
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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached Port Townsend police at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 12. 2014 12:47PM
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