Chef Slow Cooks Wife Four Days And Then Jumps Off A Cliff

Jonathan Harker
5 min readAug 9, 2022

Some things you just couldn’t make up.

On a brisk February morning in 2011, David Viens, a restaurant owner and chef, leapt off a 100-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Somehow… he survived.

The Point Vicente Lighthouse where David Viens jumped. Photo by Dimitri Jablokov on Unsplash

David’s dive wouldn’t happen until 2011, but to see why he would decide to jump, we must travel back to October 2009. This is when David’s wife, of fifteen years, went missing.

Red Marks

According to David, his wife, Dawn Marie Viens, 39, walked out on him and her responsibilities on October, 18, 2009. And although David refused to admit it, Dawn was tired of being slapped around by her abusive husband.

The couple lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Lomita, and mostly, were an ordinary, but often arguing, married couple.

Things weren’t always so ‘gravy’ in the Viens home, though. Dawn had once confessed to a close friend, Karen Peterson, that she was being physically and verbally abused at home. Peterson would later testify on the sudden appearance of bruises on Dawn’s body and the “red marks on her neck.” On one alarming occasion, David became so enraged after Dawn locked herself in the couple’s bathroom and called Peterson, crying. Through the phone, David’s voice roared as he was “pounding on the door and yelling.”

Neighbors who also lived in the same Lomita apartment building picked up on the abuse, often hearing the muffled screams of Dawn being choked, and the studio apartment lamps shattering on the walls.

Things weren’t always this bad.

A Difficult Thyme

David Viens poses with his wife Dawn (now deceased). Source

At the beginning of 2009, Dawn and David (an established chef) opened a new restaurant. Calling their new venture the Thyme Contemporary Cafe, they focused on a menu fusion of “California comfort foods, traditional New England flair, and Caribbean style dishes that will be sure to appeal to all that appreciate fine food.”

Although the food was exceptional (according to Yelp reviewers), the customer experience…

Jonathan Harker

Hey! My name is Jonathan. I’m a true crime writer and podcast producer.