New Orleans, LA — Missing teacher Terrilynn Monette’s car was discovered on Saturday submerged in a bayou in New Orleans. The car had a badly decomposing body inside, believed to be that of Monette.
The car and body were discovered in Bayou St. John by a diver with the Slidell Police Department. The man, police officer Mark Michaud, volunteered to dive the waterways to search for the missing teacher.
Detective Daniel Seuzeneau of the Slidell Police Department has said that the body is believed to be that of Monette. The popular teacher was last seen on March 2 when she left Parlay’s Dream Lounge in New Orleans. She was celebrating with friend her nomination for a “Teacher of the Year” award.
But she never made it home. The missing teacher’s mother, Toni Enclade, has been splitting her time between California, where Monette is from, and New Orleans, looking for her daughter. On Saturday, she stated of the possibility that the body found is Terrilynn’s:
“To know that she could have possibly been there for three months. I can’t even begin to go there right now. I’m in shock. I can’t believe this. I just can’t believe this.”
Michaud took his 17-foot boat equipped with sonar out on Saturday in Bayou St. John to look for the missing teacher and her car.
While scanning the waters, he found a submerged car close to a bridge at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Wisner Boulevard. The vehicle appeared to be pointed the way the missing teacher could have taken home from Parlay’s bar around 5 am on March 2.
So, Michaud grabbed his gear, dove in, and found a black Honda Accord — the same kind of car Monette drove. He also studied the license plate and confirmed it matched the missing teacher’s vehicle. When he saw a badly decomposed body in the driver’s seat, he presumed it to be that of the missing woman.
The night Monette went missing, she told friends she was going to sleep in her car for a while before she drove to her apartment. She left a bank parking lot next to Parlay’s around 5 am and headed toward Marconi Drive. Police believed that Monette turned onto Marconi, on the edge of City Park, because of red-light camera footage. But her car was found farther east, suggesting she actually went straight.
In a statement, New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas explained that the missing teacher’s car being discovered will lead the investigation in a new direction. Homicide detectives and the department’s fatality unit will search for evidence to find out how and why Monette’s car ended up in the bayou.
An autopsy on the body is scheduled for Monday. It is unclear when investigators will determine if the body is that of missing teacher Terrilynn Monette.