The LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) Lab in Baton Rouge has confirmed that remains recovered from a vehicle found submerged in the Cane River in Natchitoches Parish are that of a woman who was reported missing nearly 28 years ago.
40-year-old Kara Vaughn was reported missing by her family on November 3, 1993, after leaving her home without her diabetes medication and less than $10 in cash. She never returned home; her family said she left home that evening upset and had previously stated she was "drive her vehicle in Cane River and never be found."
Detectives began an investigation into her disappearance and provided DNA profiles from her family to the LSU FACES Lab, which also manages the Louisiana Repository for Unidentified and Missing Persons Information Project.
Deputies searched Cane River multiple times but were unable to find any signs of Vaughn's vehicle being in the river. In 2007 special sonar equipment was used to again search the river, but again, no clues were found.
Then, nearly 28 years after Vaughn went missing, two fishermen alerted deputies after seeing a possible vehicle submerged in the river while fishing. NPSO dive members entered the river and discovered a small vehicle submerged in 10-12 feet of water.
Calcasieu Parish Divers assisted in the search and vehicle recovery. After entering the vehicle they discovered human skeletal remains inside. A laminated ID card and photo of Kara Vaughn were found in the vehicle.
The remains were transported to the LSU FACES Lab for DNA comparison and the vehicle was removed from the river.
On Wednesday, March 24, the Natchitoches Parish Coroner's Office was notified by LSU FACES that the remains were positively identified using dental records comparison as 40-year-old Kara Vaughn.
Officials say upon completion of the examination, the remains will be released to Vaughn's family for proper burial.
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