The body of missing LSU student Kori Gauthier was found in the Mississippi River on Wednesday after a week of extensive searches.
Gauthier, who was raised in the Baton Rouge area and was a dance teacher, was reported missing last week after not showing up to class, work or a doctor’s appointment, according to The Advocate.
Her father, Levar Gauthier, posted on Facebook saying he was writing with deep sadness, but thankful his daughter would be “put to rest properly.”
The morning of her disappearance, someone crashed into the college freshman’s abandoned car on the interstate.
According to CNN, the car was left running on the bridge. Her personal belongings were also found in the car including her phone and wallet.
Her family traced her phone to a salvage yard in the area where her car was. Police who were joined by family and community members started a search for the student. Authorities used boats, police dogs and mounted patrols to cover the area.
Days after her disappearance, cadaver dogs alerted officials to the area of the river where the 18-year-old’s body was found but conditions were not safe for divers to investigate.
Prior to the announcement that her body had been found, police were notified of a body in the river by a tugboat crew member in the St. John the Baptist Parish.
#BREAKING Officials in St. John the Baptist Parish has been identified the body recovered in Reserve as #KoriGauthier. Please continue to pray & uplift her family during this time. pic.twitter.com/6VZOxqM28P
— Kourtney Williams (@kwilliamstv) April 14, 2021
Spencer Gauthier, her uncle who also helped organize the search for his niece, took to Facebook Live on Wednesday saying the family could start their healing process.
“Life is worth living. In all honesty, life is worth living,” he said. “Never give up. As you guys can see, a nation of people came together for my niece. That same nation of people would come to your side… We’re all in this together.”
Wednesday evening, officials said volunteers had taken “exhaustive measures to locate her and, in the process, to determine what led to her disappearance.”
“This is a difficult conclusion for all of us, but we hope this will bring closure for the Gauthier family,” LSU Police Chief Bart Thompson said.
Police added that foul play is not suspected and that using a combination of evidence “no criminal activity” is suspected.
Law enforcement thanked the community and other agencies for helping in the search of Gauthier.
“Our community is heartbroken by the loss of this amazing young woman,” Baton Rouge Mayor Weston Broome said. “I send my most heartfelt condolences to Kori’s family and loved ones. Please keep them in your prayers during this time.”