Murder of Dawn Viens who was cooked by chef husband David Viens investigated on The Real Murders of Los Angeles

Dawn Viens smiling in missing persons police pic
Dawns Viens was callously murdered by David Viens. Pic credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept

The Real Murders of Los Angeles is examining the sickening murder of Dawn Viens, who was killed by her husband, David Viens, who then cooked her remains in their restaurant in Lomita, California.

David was a successful chef and charismatic businessman who lived and worked with his wife, Dawn, in Lomita, a sleepy Los Angeles suburb. On the surface, the pair appeared to be a happily married couple, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The 39-year-old Dawn was last seen alive on October 18, 2009. In the days following her disappearance, David told friends of the couple that his wife had needed time away and evaded questions about her whereabouts. One friend suspected that David had even faked a text message supposedly written to her from Dawn.

David also complained that she had stolen money from the restaurant and appeared irritated by questions about her. At one point, he said of Dawn, “Good riddance.”

Dawn’s friends began pushing the police for an investigation. As the cops examined the case, they started to suspect David of foul play. In 2010, the investigators switched the case from a missing persons to a homicide.

In February 2011, David learned he was a suspect in Dawn’s murder. He told his new girlfriend, Kathy Galvan, that his former wife was not coming back and cryptically said that it was an accident.

David Viens jumped off a cliff after learning he was suspect in Dawn Viens murder

Viens then apologized to Galvan and told her no one would believe him and that they couldn’t be together anymore. He then jumped off the 80-foot cliff they had been standing beside.

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David was rescued and transported to a hospital, where he confessed to the police that he had murdered Dawn. He claimed they had an argument, which ended when he forced her to the floor and put duct tape on her mouth. He said she was dead when he woke up in the morning.

The twisted chef disposed of his wife’s body by stuffing it into a 55-gallon drum of boiling water. He told the cops in a recorded interview from his hospital bed, “I just slowly cooked it, and I ended up cooking her for four days.”

David claimed that all that was left was Dawn’s skull, which he hid in his mother’s attic. He said the rest was put into a grease pit at the restaurant.

None of Dawn’s remains, including the skull, have been recovered.

David Viens retracted admission of killing Dawn Viens

The killer would later backtrack on his confession, claiming he was drugged up with painkillers from the fall and that he had lied about cooking his wife’s remains.

In the end, a jury found David Viens guilty of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 15 years to life.

A parole board will next meet in June 2026 to discuss David’s eligibility for release.

The Real Murders of Los Angeles airs Fridays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

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