The owner of a West Hollywood skin care business said Tuesday that he was surprised that a veteran competitor with celebrity clientele would allegedly devise a plot to kill him using a hit man.
Skin care expert Dawn DaLuise is being held on $1 million bail in the alleged murder-for-hire plot after being arrested last Wednesday.
Her apparent target, police say, was Gabriel Suarez, owner of Smooth Cheeks on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Suarez said in an interview Tuesday that he suspected she was giving him the cold shoulder.
“She couldn’t handle the competition,” said Suarez, a licensed aesthetician who specializes in skin care and waxing. "She's 55. She should being thinking about retirement."
Suarez’s skin care business moved in next door to Dawn DaLuise Skin Refinery last year.
“I didn’t realize she wanted my business,” Suarez said, adding that he knew her "vaguely."
Suarez said business is booming and he has plenty of his own clientele.
“I don’t want to say too much because of the investigation,” he said.
DaLuise, authorities allege, solicited Christopher Geile between Jan. 22 and Feb. 12 to kill Suarez.
The 55-year-old skin care specialist, who has appeared in InStyle and Vanity Fair magazines, counts among her clients Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alicia Silverstone and Christina Ricci. She was once named best facialist by Los Angeles magazine.
What began as a cyberstalking inquiry turned into a murder-for-hire investigation when an informant tipped authorities about a suspected plan to eliminate competitor Suarez.
“There was sufficient concern that something could happen that there was a decision to make an arrest,” Capt. Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in an interview earlier this week.
Although detectives are not identifying who DaLuise may have tried to hire, prosecutors in court documents named Geile, who apparently once played professional football, as the person she solicited to kill Suarez.
He refused to talk to a local TV reporter when confronted at his San Bernardino County home. His son denied any wrongdoing by his father but acknowledged his father knew DaLuise.
Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the L.A. County district attorney’s office, said prosecutors have declined to file charges against Geile at this time and have asked for further investigation.
DaLuise is also known for getting into a public battle with singer Nicki Minaj after the performer complained about her work on the performer's eyebrows.
DaLuise’s business promotes itself as specializing in electrical muscle stimulation. By her account, she moved to Southern California in the 1980s to work as a model before switching to the skin care business.
Her alleged intended victim is trying to take the ordeal in stride and look on the positive side, he said.
"It's good exposure for my business," he said.