Police Arrest Companion of Missing Tourist

Santa Monica police are questioning the traveling companion of a 19 year old English woman who disappeared nearly two weeks ago.

Leona Dawn Perryman was last seen just before midnight December 18, in Santa Monica, said Santa Monica police Detective Larry Nicols. Perryman arrived in the United States with 45-year-old Paul Alfred Atkinson on Oct. 13, he said.

Police arrested Atkinson Wednesday night in Venice. He was questioned as he was being held for ``possession of a concealed, dangerous weapon,'' said Sgt. Robert Hernandez of the Santa Monica Police Department.

The offense was "unrelated'' to the missing person investigation, Hernandez said without disclosing what the weapon was. "Detectives have been talking to him.''  Another member of the department, duty Officer Candice Cobarrubias, said Atkinson ``was in possession of a weapon'' when he was taken into custody.  "The violation can be anywhere from a knife to a dagger to a firearm,'' Cobarrubias said, adding that she didn't know what the weapon was.

Atkinson, described by police as "a person of interest'' in Perryman's disappearance, was taken into custody at a restaurant near Pacific and Windward avenues in Venice Wednesday night after police held a news conference to ask for the public's help in locating him and Perryman.  He was tracked down following a tip from a civilian, said Santa Monica police Sgt. Jay Trisler.

"We don't have information of foul play,'' Trisler said. "The subject of interest we were looking for came to the police department and was open with us. He said she had left the motel and was possibly going to an Internet cafe or the beach.''

Police say Perryman and Atkinson were here on a vacation and had planned to return to England on January 7. The two were staying at a motel in Santa Monica at the time of Perryman’s disappearance and had also spent time in West Hollywood and Venice, police said.


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It was Atkinson who reported Perryman missing, Cobarrubias said, but not until she’d been missing for more than a week. After she vanished, Atkinson left the motel and is believed to have been living on the street, according to police.

Atkinson's bail early today was set at $20,000. He has a court appearance scheduled Monday at the Airport Branch Courthouse on La Cienega Boulevard, according to jail records. 

Perryman is white with blonde hair and blue eyes, about 5 feet 7 and 130 pounds. Anyone with information on her whereabouts was urged to call Santa Monica police at (310) 458- 8495.

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