BATON ROUGE, La. — UPDATE: The United Cajun Navy is working with local law enforcement to conduct an aerial search of the Mississippi River Friday morning by helicopter to search for Kori Gauthier. They will also be conducting an ATV search of the levee on Saturday morning.
The United Cajun Navy is also asking that any volunteers interested in helping to search for Kori Gauthier to meet them at 8 a.m. at the Flag Pole in front of the LSU Veterinary School on the LSU Campus.
KATC is learning more about an Opelousas college student who went missing Wednesday.
Kori Gauthier's car was found on the Mississippi River Bridge Wednesday when another motorist crashed into it. KATC spoke with with the driver, who said he was driving in the outside lane on the bridge when he came upon her car, parked. He tried to avoid hitting it but couldn't move over because of traffic and struck her car.
"The car in front of me swerved over and cut lanes, all I saw was a parked car," Devin Jones said. "I locked up my brakes. Hit the white car. It was either the car or an 18-wheeler."
Jones told us the vehicle was empty, but police found her phone and wallet inside.
We've spoken with Kori's family members as well, who tell us that they got no call from any law enforcement about her vehicle being found empty on the bridge. They tell our reporter that her employer called her family after she didn't show up and didn't answer her phone.
Her father used the locator on her phone to find it - at a Baton Rouge junkyard. The phone was still in the car, he tells us.
"My brother, her father, or her mother were not notified that car was in an accident or anything," said Spencer Gauthier, Kori's uncle. "Went to her dorm room, wasn't there. Looked for her car, couldn't find her car. We started trying to turn over every stone we could."
According to Kori's family, her boyfriend is the last person to see her. Gauthier said they got into an argument.
"The time-frame between the argument and the wreck, I don't know," her uncle added.
We've tried this morning to get information on the investigation. Baton Rouge Police say they worked the crash, and told us to make a public records request for the report. We've done that and are waiting to hear back. They told us that LSU Police are working Kori's disappearance. We contacted LSU Police, who told us to contact the LSU communications office. They would not tell us anything, other than to confirm that LSU Police is investigating her disappearance.
Gauthier's uncle has posted on Facebook, asking for help in locating her. The family is remaining hopeful Kori will return home safely, and is offering a $10,000 reward for her safe return.
"Everyone I need your help! Please share this picture of my niece Kori Gauthier," Spencer Gauthier's post states. "She has not been seen since April 6th. She is a Freshman at LSU. Her vehicle was involved in an accident(currently in a junk yard) on the Mississippi River bridge at or around 1am on April 7th. I’ve checked every hospital, jail, coroners office you name it. No sign of her. I’ll personally pay $10K to anyone that leads her home. I need my niece!!!!"
"Maybe someone knows where she is," Kori's uncle told us. "Maybe she is in a local hospital as Jane Doe."
Here's the post:
LSU also released this statement:
Dear LSU Community,
LSU Police has been investigating the disappearance of one of our students, freshman Kori Gauthier, for almost 24 hours, and has been in close contact with her family throughout the day. Kori’s vehicle was found unoccupied at the scene of an accident early this morning on the I-10 eastbound side of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge. Kori, pictured above (or view her image here), is 18 years old and is 5’5” and weighs between 115 to 120 pounds with dark brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on Kori Gauthier is asked to contact LSU Police at (225) 578-3231.