A 37-year-old Australian actor who was believed to have gone missing in the US after a first date has been found in an unexpected location: jail.
Laura McCulloch’s loved ones reported her missing on Friday (12 August), saying they hadn’t heard from her since she went on a date at a restaurant in Santa Monica, California, with someone she’d met onling.
Her friends raised an alarm when she did not return home after that night, triggering a widespread social media campaign to find the actor.
However, in reality, she was arrested on Friday night on “suspicion of public intoxication” and “resisting arrest” for allegedly biting and kicking a police officer, who was called to the restaurant in response to an altercation, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Around 8.30pm on Friday, officers were dispatched to the restaurant for a report of battery, Santa Monica police lieutenant Rudy Flores said.
The officers were informed that Ms McCulloch had allegedly thrown a drink at another customer and their two-year-old child.
The actor showed “obvious signs of intoxication” and “charged at the officers while yelling expletives” even as they tried to calm her.
“During efforts to detain her, she became physically combative, kicked at officers and bit one officer on the shoulder,” Mr Flores said.
Irked with the alleged lack of cooperation from Los Angeles Police, the actor’s family had also created a fundraiser to hire a private investigator to find her.
On Tuesday, the actor’s cousin Merrie McCulloch, wrote on the GoFundMe page: “Laura has been successfully located”.
“At this current stage we are unable to confirm what state she is in, and if any further financial support is needed, but I will do my best to provide an update as soon as it is available.”
Ms McCulloch was charged with one count of felony and produced before the Airport Courthouse. Her bail was set at $25,000.
Ms McCulloch had reportedly appeared in The Nutcracker in 2009 and The Black Sheep in 2010, before moving to Los Angeles in 2021.