Search for 18-year-old LSU student, Kori Gauthier, focuses on Mississippi River
Kori Gauthier's car was found abandoned when another driver struck the vehicle in a crash Tuesday morning
A student at Louisiana State University has been missing for days after her car was found unoccupied at the site of a wreck on a freeway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Kori Gauthier, 18, has not been seen since Tuesday. Law enforcement and volunteers are searching for the student, focusing much of their attention on a part of the Mississippi River, the college announced Saturday.
LSU first reported Gauthier’s disappearance Friday in a series of Twitter posts. The vehicle was discovered abandoned on the I-10 eastbound side of the Mississippi River Bridge when another driver, Devin Jones, crashed into the car early Tuesday morning. After the accident, Jones said the car Gauthier was driving was stationary, abandoned and still running, WAFB reports.
Gauthier’s phone and other personal belongings were found still in the vehicle by officers. The car was towed and taken to a junkyard, according to the outlet.
According to the school, members of the Mercy Search & Rescue team narrowed down a search location on Saturday in the Mississippi River after a K-9 cadaver dog alerted an area twice. However, it has been determined that the target area of the river is up to 90 feet deep and divers are unable to be deployed due to the river’s unsafe conditions. Several authorities are set to be taking part in the search on Sunday, dispatching to the levee on both directions of nearby Farr Park, equipped with the latest available sonar technology.
Institutions taking part in the levee search will include the Louisiana State University Police Department (LSUPD), the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD), the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office (EBRSO). In addition, the volunteer group, the United Cajun Navy, has been helping with the search since Thursday. They will be bringing helicopters, ATVs and boats.
Officials investigating the circumstances around Gauthier’s disappearances say they suspect “no criminal activity or foul play took place” at the scene on the bridge.
The school has been in close contact with Gauthier’s parents throughout the search. Her father, Levar Gauthier, joined authorities in the search on Friday.
“I haven’t eaten since Wednesday at work for lunch,” Gauthier told WAFB. “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.”
Students of LSU have also been helping in the search for Gauthier. The United Cajun Navy posted on Facebook that students had been “riding bikes, walking and running on the levee by LSU” in the search effort.
“I really appreciate the effort that LSU students have put in, Southern University students, friends from Opelousas, LaPlace, Texas, you know, the overwhelming support for my daughter,” Levar Gauthier said. “A lot of people don’t know her but to see the compassion people have, I really appreciate it.”
If you have any information regarding Kori Gauthier that would assist in the search, please call either LSU Police at (225) 578-3231 or Baton Rouge Police at (225) 389-2000. Gauthier is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, with brown eyes, dark hair and weighs between 115 and 120 pounds.
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