BATON ROUGE, La. — A body found in the Mississippi River was identified Wednesday as Kori Gauthier, a Louisiana State University freshman who had been missing since last week, authorities said.
Gauthier, 18, of Opelousas, Louisiana, was last seen April 6, KATC reported.
Authorities said over the weekend that no foul play or criminal activity was suspected in her death, The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported.
Gauthier was reported missing after her vehicle was discovered unoccupied on Interstate 10 East on the Mississippi River Bridge between Baton Rouge and Port Allen, WAFB reported. A driver crashed into the vehicle after 12 a.m. on April 7, the television station reported.
“Since Kori was first reported missing, the LSU Police Department, Baton Rouge Police Department and other law enforcement agencies and volunteers have taken exhaustive measures to locate her and, in the process, to determine what led to her disappearance,” LSU Chief of Police Bart Thompson said. “This is a difficult conclusion for all of us, but we hope this will bring closure for the Gauthier family.
“Based on cell phone tracking, video footage and a timeline of the events related to this case -- combined with other evidence we shared with Kori’s parents that we are not at liberty to disclose publicly out of respect for their privacy -- we have concluded that there was no criminal activity or foul play involved.”
Gauthier’s uncle, who helped organize the search efforts, said in a Facebook live video on Wednesday that the family can start their healing process.
“Life is worth living. In all honesty, life is worth living,” Spencer Gauthier said in the post. “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.”
Kori Gauthier’s father, Levar Gauthier, posted on Facebook that he was writing with a heavy heart but was thankful that his daughter can now “be put to rest properly.”
“I come to you all with a very heavy heart,” Levar Gauthier wrote. “It was confirmed that the body that was recovered in Reserve right down the street from my job was indeed my Kori Mo!!! God granted me the one wish I had and that was to receive her in any way to be put to rest properly. She always said that I didn’t do anything at work so I guess she was trying to see for herself!! I would like to thank everyone who assisted in any way. It’s too many to name but thank you!!!”
“Our entire community is heartbroken by the loss of this amazing young woman,” Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon 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.”