Missing woman’s car found

A meter maid writing parking tickets in the 1700 block of Q Street in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday discovered the car registered to a Manassas woman who has been missing for more than a week.

The parking enforcement officer reported the car as a suspicious vehicle after she noticed a odor coming from it, Sgt. Bill Goodman, Manassas police spokesman, said.

Secret Service Agents in the area saw a body covered with a blanket or a jacket inside the black 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse.

As of Tuesday afternoon, it was “too early to tell” who was inside, Goodman said.

Manassas police were waiting for District of Columbia officers to obtain warrants to search the car.

The car, registered to Gerardo and Marissa Lara, was found in good condition.

Lara, 41, was reported missing by her estranged husband. Gerardo Lara told police he saw her drive away from his house May 13 with four people in a late 1990s model Honda Accord with Washington, D.C., plates, police said.

The missing woman, who separated from her husband approximately six months ago, lived in the 9500 block of Cannoneer Court.

Police say she visited her two teenage children in the house the boys shared with their father in the 8900 block of Cannonridge Drive every morning to see them off to school and was there in the afternoon when they came home.

She worked at the Old Country Buffet on Sudley Road as a night waitress.

Gerardo Lara, 42, told police her car, which was parked near his house, was gone the morning after she disappeared.

The day she disappeared, she left before the boys awoke for school, police said her husband reported.

Gerardo Lara was accused in 2001 of assaulting his wife at her workplace, according to Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court records.

He tried to force his wife out of the restaurant at approximately 3 p.m. on June 9, 2001.

Records state that he put her in a head lock, slammed her into the glass door and tried to force her into a van. The restaurant’s manager was punched, kicked in the groin and in the face when he tried to intervene.

Court records also show that Gerardo Lara successfully completed a domestic violence program mandated by a Juvenile and Domestic Relations judge.

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065. Staff writer Maria Hegstad contributed to this story.