An autopsy was scheduled in New Orleans Monday to confirm that the body in a car that was pulled from the Bayou St. John on Saturday was that of an elementary school teacher missing for nearly 100 days.
The Slidell Police Department dive team, using a portable scanner device, found the submerged car belonging to Terrilynn Monette close to a bridge at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Wisner Boulevard. Monette, 26, went missing March 2 after driving away in her black Honda Accord from a bar in the 800 block of Harrison about 5 a.m.
The car was pulled from the bayou with a badly decomposed body in the driver's seat
presumably that of the missing teacher, authorities told The Times-Picayune.
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"It's a really sad moment," State Rep. Austin Badon told the newspaper. He had been spearheading search efforts for Monette. "There's some sense of closure, and I'm glad, though it wasn't the outcome I had hoped for."
Monette, a teacher at Woodland West Elementary School in Harvey, exited a bank parking lot next door to the bar about 5 a.m. and headed toward Marconi Drive.
Police initially thought Monette turned left, or northbound, at Marconi, on the edge of City Park, based on red-light camera footage. But her car was found farther east, suggesting she likely kept going straight instead, driving through City Park before – for reasons still unknown – she ended up in in Bayou St. John.
This particular section of Bayou St. John had been searched at least twice before by divers
but they were never able to find anything, authorities told WVUE-TV in New Orleans.
"It could've easily been missed and just fortunately we found it, that's neither here nor there I guess but fortunately we found it and that's what's good," diver Mark Michaud told the TV station.
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As crews pulled the car out of the water, Monette's family stood by watching. Monette's mom and other relatives were in town from California to search for her, when they got the news, WVUE-TV reported.
"I had to tell them directly that we are 99 percent sure that we have found your daughter and it is not the outcome that we had all hoped for, but we have found your daughter," Badon said.
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