The search for a missing Louisiana State University student continued over the weekend, with authorities shifting focus to a “targeted area” of the Mississippi River.
Freshman Kori Gauthier was last seen nearly a week ago, and campus authorities said they’ve been in close contact with the family in the days since Gauthier’s car was found abandoned — and running — on the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge.
A K-9 cadaver dog alerted twice in that area of the river Saturday, according to LSU police, which is heading up the investigation. Authorities said the area reaches depths up to 90 feet with conditions too dangerous to deploy a dive team.
“We want to assure the LSU community that the search for missing LSU student Kori Gauthier continues in cooperation with law enforcement officials and volunteers throughout the region,” LSU police said in an update Sunday. “We’re aware there are those who want us to address the many rumors and speculation, but our focus is on locating Kori and respecting her parents’ privacy in the process.”
Gauthier, 19, was last seen April 7 as she headed to her on-campus dorm early that morning. LSU police said her car had been involved in an accident when it was found unoccupied on the eastbound side of the Mississippi River Bridge.
Deven Jones struck the parked car and realized there was no one inside when he went to check on the driver, according to WBRZ. The car was running, he said.
Gauthier’s family is pleading for help finding their missing loved one.
“I’m terrified. I don’t know where she is,” her aunt Wendy Devall told WBRZ. “That’s our biggest concern. If her car was there, why was she not in her car?”
Police said Gauthier’s phone and wallet were still inside the car, which was later taken to a salvage yard, WWL-TV reported. The young woman’s family members said they didn’t learn of the accident until Gauthier missed class and a doctor’s appointment.
“Nobody reached out from the wreck,” her uncle, Spencer Gauthier, told the news station. “No police, no ambulance, nothing. I don’t know where the ball was dropped.”
The search for Gauthier continued early Sunday with assistance from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and other local law enforcement agencies. Crews are searching for her by boat equipped with Sonar technology, LSU police said in an update Sunday.
Police say they do not suspect criminal activity or foul play in the young woman’s disappearance.
Gauthier is described as 5 feet, 5 inches, between 115 and 120 pounds with brown eyes and dark brown hair, authorities said. There’s no description of what she was last seen wearing.
Anyone with information on Gauthier’s whereabouts is asked to contact LSU campus police at 225-578-0807. Her family is also offering a $10,000 reward for information on her disappearance, WBRZ reported.