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Body is found in search for missing LSU freshman

A body was reportedly found Tuesday during a search for a missing Louisiana State University freshman whose car was found abandoned on a bridge last week. 

LSU student Kori Gauthier, 18, has 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 crewmember 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. 

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A body was reportedly found Tuesday during a search for missing Louisiana State University freshman, Kori Gauthier (pictured), 18, whose car was found abandoned on a bridge last week

Kori Gauthier

Kori Gauthier

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. Authorities have not released the person’s identity. An autopsy will be conducted. Gauthier is pictured 

Search crews (volunteers pictured) 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

Search crews (volunteers pictured) 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

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

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.

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. 

Devin Jones, who crashed into Gauthier’s car, said he checked right after the collision and there was nobody inside the car.  

Gauthier has been missing since April 6

Gauthier has been missing since April 6, when her car unoccupied vehicle was found on a bridge

Gauthier has 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

Devin Jones, who crashed into Gauthier's car, said he checked right after the collision and there was nobody inside the car

Devin Jones, who crashed into Gauthier’s car, said he checked right after the collision and there was nobody inside the car

Search crews and police were searching the single section of the river, around the Farr Park RV Campground, after dogs alerted handlers to the spot twice in one day

Search crews and police were searching the single section of the river, around the Farr Park RV Campground, after dogs alerted handlers to the spot twice in one day 

Volunteers from the United Cajun Navy assemble on Sunday to search the Mississippi River

Volunteers from the United Cajun Navy assemble on Sunday to search the Mississippi River

Officials are not dealing with her disappearance as suspicious. 

Gauthier’s uncle has offered a $10,000 award for her anyone who brings 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!!!!’ 

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. 


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