NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Authorities pulled Terrilyn Monette’s car from a New Orleans bayou Saturday and police said there was a decomposed body inside.
Authorities couldn’t immediately say whether the body was Terrilyn Monette, who was last seen leaving a New Orleans bar not far from the bayou in the early morning hours of March 2. She would’ve had to cross the waterway to get home.
Monette was a Long Beach, Calif., native who moved to Louisiana to teach. Her family has been flying back and forth from California to look for her. They attended a prayer vigil Friday and appealed for FBI intervention, accusing the New Orleans Police Department of mishandling the case. The department has denied the accusations.
Monette’s mother, Toni Enclade, was among the family members who came to the scene Saturday.
“I don’t understand why it took them so long to find her car,” Enclade told The Times-Picayune. “This is supposedly one of the first places they would have checked. I’m just overwhelmed. It doesn’t make sense.”
Louisiana state Rep. Austin Badon helped spearhead the search. He said he and a volunteer diver resurveyed the waterway and found the car.
“We decided to sonar this area again, and more heavily, and it got a hit,” Badon told The Associated Press.