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Warrants Served in Search for Woman

February 28, 2003|Zeke Minaya and Hector Becerra | Times Staff Writers

Police served 10 search warrants Thursday as they looked for a suspect in the disappearance of 22-year-old Kristine Louise Johnson of Santa Monica.

"We have a possible subject we're looking at that may be a match for the composite" drawing that the department issued Tuesday, said Santa Monica Police Lt. Frank Fabrega.

Investigators declined to identify the suspect or say where the warrants were served, but Fabrega said the man "has something in his background that makes him capable of this."

Media coverage has generated 20 to 25 calls an hour to the department's tip line and police have several strong and viable leads, Fabrega said.

Johnson disappeared Feb. 15 after telling a roommate that a photographer had approached her at the Century City Mall asking to take pictures of her for a movie production. She said she was going to Beverly Hills to meet him.

On Thursday night, about 100 people including Johnson's family observed her 22nd birthday in a ceremony at St. Augustine-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Monica.

"There's a part of Kristi that will never leave you after you meet her because she has such a joy for life," said her mother, Terry Wark. "She loves to sing, she loves to dance, she loves people."

A friend of Johnson, David Garrison of Carson, said they and their friends liked to go to rave parties.

"Hollywood was her dream. She was really into the makeup and the hair. I could see how she fell for it," he said, referring to the offer of a movie shoot.

On Monday, authorities found Johnson's car at the St. Regis Hotel in Century City. A valet told police the car had been left there Feb. 16 -- the day after Johnson disappeared -- by a man who bore strong resemblance to the sketch.

It depicts a cleanshaven white male in his 30s, about 6 feet tall with a thin to medium build and dark hair.

The sketch was created with the help of a woman who told police that she was approached at the Century City Mall by a man who asked to photograph her for a film production.

That woman met the man in West Hollywood, but had her boyfriend follow her. When the man aggressively urged her to get into his car, the boyfriend appeared and chased the man away, she told police.

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