Terrilyn Monette case: Mother of missing New Orleans teacher on 'emotional rollercoaster'

theGRIO REPORT - The mother of missing New Orleans teacher Terrilyn Monette received news on Saturday that the vehicle that belonged to Monette was found in a bayou and speaks to theGrio...

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Family and friends of missing New Orleans teacher Terrilyn Monette received news on Saturday that the vehicle that belonged to Monette was found in a bayou – and contained a decomposed body that authorities have yet to officially identify.

The discovery comes three months after the 26-year-old schoolteacher was reported missing following a night out with friends on March 1st.

“From day one, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” Toni Enclade, Monette’s mother, told theGrio Monday morning. “We were very close and spoke every day, two or three times a day. The last time I spoke to her was the night of March 1st.”

The night Monette went missing

According to reports, Monette was last seen at a bar that night in New Orleans. Friends who were with Monette told authorities that she said she was going to her car to lie down before driving home.

Cameras later captured her same vehicle leaving the parking lot around 5:15 a.m. and turning in to a nearby park.

Enclade said she called her daughter the following day and knew something was wrong when her phone repeatedly went to voicemail.

“There was no way she wouldn’t have spoken to me,” Enclade said. “It’s been agonizing for me to not know where she was.”

Enclade was in Mississippi passing out flyers with information of Monette’s missing case when she was contacted by authorities with news of their team locating her daughter’s vehicle.

“When I got the call and they said they were 99 percent sure they found her car, we turned around and came back to New Orleans,” Enclade said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Vehicle found three months later

Enclade and family members returned to a New Orleans bayou they had searched before with police officers. However, it wasn’t until Officer Austin Badon conducted a second search of the area that the car was found.

“We had searched there and driven by so many times,” she said. “I kept saying ‘My baby can’t be in there.’”

Authorities discovered a vehicle that matched the license plate of Monette’s – along with a decomposed body that was not immediately identified.

“To be honest, until the autopsy proves that that’s my daughter I still feel that she’s still here,” Enclade admitted. “I don’t want to believe she’s gone.”

Outpouring support from community, friends

As Enclade awaits autopsy results, she says the community and many across the nation have been very supportive.

The Black and Missing foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring awareness to missing people of color, has worked directly with Enclade to help bring media attention to Monette’s case.

“Our condolences go out to Terrilyn’s mother and family,” Natalie Wilson, the co-founder of the organization, told theGrio.  “Unfortunately, it isn’t the result we all wanted but at least we have answers — that is if the body has been identified as Terrilyn – although we were hoping for another outcome. It’s all very sad news.”

Her mother’s struggle

For now, Enclade – who lives in California –  says she is staying in New Orleans until Wednesday. Depending on what the autopsy results report, she says she will return to Louisiana in either June or July to hold a memorial service.

No further information has yet been provided on what exactly happened to Monette the night of March 1st nor have details been given on how, or why, the vehicle was found underwater.

In the chance that the body is identified as Monette, Enclade says she will be in a better place.

She adds:  “Terrilyn is up there with some of the bigger people in the world, as a mother that makes me very proud.”

Follow Lilly Workneh @Lilly_Works