Police say missing British woman has been found

AP News
Posted: Dec 31, 2009 5:38 PM

Santa Monica police say a 19-year-old British woman missing since Dec. 18 has been found safe.

Police Sgt. Jay Trisler says officers received a tip Thursday and found Leona Dawn Perryman of Dorset, England, in the Venice area near Santa Monica.

Police arrested her 45-year-old boyfriend Paul Alfred Atkinson on a weapons charge Wednesday but said he was not involved in the disappearance.

He had reported Perryman missing then disappeared himself.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ Police said Thursday they do not believe the boyfriend of a missing 19-year-old British woman had anything to do with her disappearance during their Southern California vacation.

Police arrested Paul Alfred Atkinson, 45, on a weapons charge Wednesday after he previously reported his girlfriend Leona Dawn Perryman, of Dorset, England, missing, then disappeared himself.

Atkinson told police Perryman had previously left for days during their trip without telling him where she was going, Santa Monica police Sgt. Jay Trisler said.

When Atkinson last saw her, she said she was going to an Internet cafe or the beach, Trisler said.

Police were optimistic they would find her.

"Our belief is that she's still out there. We are asking for public assistance and hope she will find out and contact her parents or us," Trisler said.

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Perryman was last seen shortly before midnight on Dec. 18. She arrived in the U.S. on Oct. 13 with Atkinson.

Atkinson was arrested at a restaurant in Santa Monica after being found with a concealed knife, Trisler said. He remained in custody on the weapons charge, with bail set at $20,000.

He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

The couple, visiting on a 90-day visa, has round-trip plane tickets and are scheduled to return to England on Jan. 7.

Atkinson was the first person to report Perryman missing.