The body found yesterday in the Mississippi River near Reserve is, unfortunately, that of Kori Gauthier, her uncle says in a social media post.
Spencer Gauthier thanks everyone for their prayers and well-wishes, but says that "unfortunately it has been confirmed that it was my niece's body that was found in the river near Reserve."
LSU also confirmed the news saying that authorities had identified the body recovered in the Mississippi River on Tuesday, April 13, in St. John the Baptist Parish has the missing LSU student.
Gauthier had been missing since early Wednesday April 7, 2021, when her car was found abandoned on the Mississippi River bridge after another motorist crashed into it. The LSU freshman was not in her vehicle, but her family says that her wallet and phone were still inside.
Since that time, numerous searches were held in the waters and grounds around the Mississippi River. Several vigils were held for Kori while crews continued their searches.
LSU Police say they have concluded that there was no criminal activity or foul play involved. They have shared evidence with Gauthier's family but did not publicly disclose their findings. They ask that the public respect the family's privacy.
Here's the release from LSU, where Kori was a student:
“Since Kori was first reported missing, the LSU Police Department, Baton Rouge Police Department and other law enforcement agencies and volunteers have taken exahsutive measures to locate her and, in the process, to determine what led to her disappearance,” said LSU Chief of Police Bart Thompson. “This is a difficult conclusion for all of us, but we hope this will bring closure for the Gauthier family.”
Thompson added, “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.”
A number of agencies and volunteer groups have been involved in the ongoing search efforts, including LSU Police, Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Attorney General, Louisiana State Police, K9 Mercy, Southeast Louisiana Rescue/Search, Iberville Sheriff’s Office, Livingston Sheriff’s Office, St. Charles Sheriff’s Office, United Cajun Navy WBR Sheriff’s Office, Cajun Navy 2016/Pinnacle SAR, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, EBR ABC Office, New Orleans Harbor Police, U.S. Coast Guard, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, along with other volunteer groups and individual volunteers.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department, I want to extend our prayers to Kori’s family and friends,” said Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul. “Over the last few days, we’ve held her close in our hearts, as we’ve worked with other agencies, volunteers, and loved ones to find Kori. We will continue praying for Kori's family and friends during this difficult time.”
The Gauthier family has asked to extend their sincerest thanks to all law enforcement officials and volunteers who helped in the investigation and the search. And also they thank everyone for their support during this time, and ask to please respect their privacy in the days and weeks going forward.
LSU and Baton Rouge officials offered their sympathies to the Gauthier family as well:
“Our LSU community is devastated to learn of the loss of Kori Gauthier,” said Interim LSU President Tom Galligan. “Our thoughts are with her parents, her family, and all who knew her during this very difficult time. We offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends.”
“Our entire community is heartbroken by the loss of this amazing young woman,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “I send my most heartfelt condolences to Kori’s family and loved ones. Please keep them in your prayers during this time.”