Kori Gauthier body found: Missing Louisiana State University freshman thought to be found in Mississippi river as police say no foul play was committed.
Update: A body found in the Mississippi River in St. John the Baptist Parish was identified late Wednesday as Kori Gauthier, the LSU freshman missing since last week, officials confirmed. No foul play or criminal activity suspected.
Original story: Did she commit suicide? The body of a missing Louisiana State University freshman is believed to have been found, a week after the student’s car was found abandoned on a bridge in Mississippi.
LSU student Kori Gauthier, 18, of Opelousas, had been missing since April 6, when her car unoccupied vehicle was found on a bridge over the river in Baton Rouge after another motorist crashed into it.
According to The Advocate, St John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre confirmed that a body was found in the Mississippi River in Reserve on Tuesday morning around 9.18am.
Tregre said the body was recovered near Milepost 137 after a crew member on a tugboat spotted the body in the middle of the river.
Authorities have not released the person’s identity. An autopsy will be conducted.
Zeroing on missing LSU freshman student
Search crews and police, including drones, helicopters, and boats, have spent the last two days combing the banks of the Mississippi River in the hopes of finding the missing teen.
Volunteers on foot, in cars, on ATVs, and on horseback were seen aiding the search for Gauthier. The United Cajun Navy was drafted to assist the rescue effort.
Over the weekend, rescuers had zeroed on a small area of the Mississippi River, but were unable to send in divers because it was considered unsafe, CNN reported.
A statement released by LSU on Saturday evening said: ‘A K9 cadaver dog with Mercy Search & Rescue alerted twice in the same area on the river, which is 85-90 feet deep with conditions that were unsafe to deploy divers.’
Search efforts continued with Mounted Patrol ‘searching the levee in both directions from Farr Park, while EBRSO, LDWF, LSUPD and BRPD will continue boat searches, including with the latest available sonar technology’ on Sunday, the statement said.
‘At this time, based on evidence collected during the investigation thus far, law enforcement officials suspect that no criminal activity or foul play took place’.
Gauthier’s phone and wallet were recovered from her vehicle after the crash on April 7, which was left idling on the side of the road.
No suspected foul play
Devin Jones, who crashed into Gauthier’s car, said he checked right after the collision and there was nobody inside the car.
LSU police have said they do not suspect foul play or criminal activity.
Gauthier’s uncle has offered a $10,000 award for her anyone who brought her home.
Writing on Facebook, he said: ‘Everyone I need your help! Please share this picture of my niece Kori Gauthier. She has not been seen since April 6th.
‘She is a Freshman at LSU. Her vehicle was involved in an accident (currently in a junk yard) on the Mississippi River bridge at or around 1am on April 7th.
‘I’ve checked every hospital, jail, coroners office you name it. No sign of her. I’ll personally pay $10K to anyone that leads her home. I need my niece!!!!’
WHY WAS FAMILY NOT CONTACTED? Days after Kori Gauthier went missing and her car was found on top of the Mississippi River Bridge, the #9NewsInvestigators are asking why did police have the car towed to a junk yard but did not notify the car’s owner. What police say at 6. @WAFB pic.twitter.com/nMwhfqSBx8
— Scottie Hunter WAFB (@ScottieWAFB) April 9, 2021
Slow police response criticized
Gauthier’s father, Levar, joined the search for his daughter on Friday and attended a prayer circle to pray for her safe return that night.
He told WAFB: ‘I haven’t eaten since Wednesday at work for lunch, I’ve maybe gotten four hours of sleep in the last couple of days and her mom hadn’t gotten that much, I’m sure. I get a cat nap here and there but I mean we won’t stop until we know something about my daughter.’
Police have been criticized for their slow response to Gauthier’s disappearance after they failed to notify the registered owner of her vehicle that it had been involved in a crash.
Gauthier’s parents said they only realized she had vanished when she did not turn up for work on April 6 and repeated calls went unanswered.
Levar said he had received several unusual phone calls from Gauthier’s mother who told him his daughter was not answering her phone, prompting further unsuccessful efforts to contact her.
On Friday, the Baton Rouge police department said in a statement: ‘On April 7, 2020 shortly after midnight we responded to the Horace Wilkinson Bridge (also known as the Mississippi River Bridge) regarding a reported accident involving a stalled vehicle.
‘Upon arrival the officer observed the stalled vehicle was unoccupied. The officer acted quickly to have the vehicle removed from the roadway to prevent any other crashes.
‘The registered owner of the unoccupied vehicle was not contacted, but this investigation remained ongoing.’
According to LSU, Gauthier is five feet, five inches, and weighs around 120 pounds. She has dark brown hair and brown eyes.
It remained unclear if Gauthier may have taken her own life and if so, why?