California Police Find Missing Saugatuck High Graduate’s Car

AP Wire Service

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) – Police released a composite sketch of a man wanted in connection with the disappearance of a 21-year-old former Michigan woman who vanished after telling her roommate she was going to audition for a photographer in Beverly Hills.

The man depicted in the composite had approached another woman using the same ruse, said Police Chief James Butts, who also announced Tuesday that authorities had recovered Kristine Louise Johnson’s car.

The Saugatuck (Mich.) High School graduate was last seen Feb. 15 when she told her roommate she was going to Beverly Hills to audition for a photographer she met while shopping at the Century City Mall.

The audition was to be a photo shoot related to a specific movie production, Butts said at a news conference.

“It’s our hope that we will be able to return her safely to her family, but that’s tempered with the realization that every day that she is gone the likelihood that we will find her safe and sound diminishes,” Butts said.

The chief said detectives received a tip on their hot line Feb. 20 from a woman who said she met a man at the Century City Mall in late January who identified himself as a photographer. The woman said the man told her he wanted to photograph her for the same movie production Johnson told her roommate about.

The woman told detectives she met the man at a street corner in West Hollywood, but she had her boyfriend, a former law enforcement officer, drive her to the meeting. The suspect approached her on the street and told her in a “very aggressive manner” that she should come with him immediately, Butts said.

The woman signaled her boyfriend, who confronted the man and frisked him for identification, Butts said. No identification was found, and the man broke free and fled.

The woman and her boyfriend helped authorities develop the composite sketch.

Santa Monica police were notified Monday that Johnson’s white 1996 Mazda Miata was parked Feb. 16 at the St. Regis Hotel in Century City by a person strongly resembling the man in the composite sketch, Butts said.

Johnson, a 1999 graduate of Saugatuck High, has called California home for about two years, The Holland Sentinel reported.

A prayer vigil is scheduled for Thursday night at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Saugatuck. A vigil also is planned for Johnson Thursday at St. Augustine’s by the Sea in Santa Monica.

Johnson’s birthday is on Thursday.