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Missing Reseda Woman Feared Dead

June 23, 1994|JULIO MORAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Police investigating the disappearance of a Reseda woman in January now believe she may have been harmed or killed, officials said Wednesday.

Mary Ann Johnson, 54, was last seen Jan. 20 as she left her job as an account representative for Robinson's-May Department Stores in North Hollywood.

"We now believe she may have met with foul play," said Detective Robert Cosley of the Los Angeles Police Department's West Valley Division.

Homicide investigators have taken over the case due to the time that has passed since Johnson was reported missing and due to an alleged threat made against her a month before she disappeared, Cosley said.

City Councilwoman Laura Chick, whose district includes Reseda, introduced a motion Wednesday to offer a $10,000 reward for information that would reveal Johnson's fate. The council is scheduled to consider the motion next Wednesday.

"The police approached us (because) the only hope now is through the offering of a reward," said Eric Rose, Chick's district director.

Cosley said that when Johnson was last seen she had told co-workers that she was meeting her estranged husband, Andrew Johnson, at an undisclosed location. Johnson's husband later told police he last spoke with her on Jan. 19, but was not scheduled to meet with her the next day as she had told her colleagues.

The Johnsons separated in 1993, but had not filed for divorce and were seeing each other again, Cosley said.

Police found Mary Ann Johnson's 1988 black Chevrolet Corvette on Jan. 26 in the parking lot of Louisiana West, a Van Nuys restaurant she and her husband own. Cosley said the keys to the car were found inside the locked restaurant, which closed recently.

Mary Ann Johnson's sister told police that the missing woman had been threatened by three men on Dec. 22 or 23. The sister said the men told Johnson they had been paid $800 to break her legs but instead only warned her that someone wanted to harm her.

Cosley said the three men did not tell Johnson who had paid them or why someone wanted her hurt.

Police have no suspects and are seeking the public's help.

"We're real interested in talking to anyone who may have seen anyone parking the Corvette on Jan. 26 or anyone who may have information about the three men," Cosley said.

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