update – June 8, 2013 (from the New Orleans Police Department) – The black, two-door Honda Accord registered to missing Harvey school teacher Terrilynn Monnette, was pulled from the floor of Bayou St. John this afternoon. Human remains were found inside the vehicle.
A recovery diver, Slidell Police Officer Mark Michoud, who was one of many diving experts to volunteer his services in the search for Ms. Monnette’s car, located the vehicle in the bayou shortly after 12 noon. He returned to the surface and told others that the car’s description and license plate were a match.
The car was then carefully lifted out of the water shortly before 3pm. When they arrived at the scene, Coroner’s investigators decided to load the vehicle on a truck and relocate it to their office, where they removed the remains later today. The actual autopsy will be performed Monday morning.
26-year-old Terrilynn Monnette was reported missing on Saturday, March 2nd . She was last seen at about 5am that day with friends at Parlay’s Bar in the 800-block of Harrison Avenue.
“I’m sure these last few months for Ms. Monnette’s family have been the hardest in their lives. I cannot begin to imagine what this family has been through, and I commend them for keeping Terrilynn’s photos in the news and in the public’s memory”, said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
“Now that Ms. Monnette’s car has been found, we begin the second phase of this investigation. Both homicide detectives and our fatality unit were on the scene today, so that they can pick up where our 3rd District officers have left off, and start finding out exactly how and why the car ended up where it did”.
Serpas continued, “I want to commend the 3rd District for their tireless efforts in this case, as well as our partners in the FBI and the US Secret Service. And I also want to thank the tremendous efforts of State Representative Austin Badon and the many volunteers who worked with him and the NOPD in this case. All involved with this team effort deserve recognition.”
State Representative Austin Badon said, “The discovery of Ms. Monnette’s car today was upsetting- not only to Terrilynn’s family members, but to many members of the New Orleans community. It was touching that many residents drove to the bayou when they heard the news that the vehicle had been located. Ms. Monnette’s story very obviously touched many of us.”
“I am aware that this investigation continues, but at this time, I’d like to thank local, state and federal law enforcement for the concentrated work they’ve put into Ms. Monnette’s case”, Badon said.
Equusearch, the Texas crew that New Orleans police have brought in to help search for missing teacher Terrilyn Monette, has found at least eight cars in Bayou St. John. But none of them is the teacher’s 2012 black Acura, last seen on March 2, Equusearch founder and director Tim Miller said Thursday.
“Waterways are good dumping grounds when somebody wants to get rid of a car for insurance reasons,” Miller said in trying to explain the fact that eight cars were found in the bayou.
The Equusearch crew, using 24-foot sonar boats that analyze sound waves to determine an underwater object’s size and shape, plans to send divers to check out a ninth car. That car has relatively few barnacles on it, indicating it may have landed in the bayou fairly recently, Miller said.
“We certainly don’t get too excited or get our hopes up until the divers come up and say there’s a chance,” Miller said.
Searchers have not found any signs of tire tracks in the land or mud surrounding various bodies of water between Parlay’s, the Lakeview bar in the 800 block of Harrison Avenue where Monette was last seen, and her apartment, Miller said.
U.S. Customs officials and State Police are using helicopters to conduct aerial searches of Lake Pontchartrain, said officer Hilal Williams, spokeswoman for the New Orleans Police Department.
Investigators have very few leads in the case, Miller said. “So far we’re at square one,” he said. “We’re no closer to finding her now than the first day, the day she disappeared.” But, he stressed, the search’s success could change in an instant. If authorities get a tip, he said, the crew will “drop everything and go to that spot.”
Police ask anyone with information on this missing person case, including the location of Monette’s 2012 black two-door Honda Accord, Louisiana license plate WUN494, to contact NOPD at 504.821.2222.
Article courtesy NOLA.com
11 or 12 cars believed to be in the bayou
Updated: Mar 15, 2013 6:01 PM CDT
Written by: Nancy Parker | Fox 8 News
New Orleans, La. –
The owner of a Texas search company says he’s bringing in bigger sonar units on Sunday. EquuSearch is combing area waterways for a missing teacher.
Tim Miller of EquuSearch says the same equipment used in the Natalee Holloway investigation in Aruba will be brought here.
Now the company is moving its efforts to find Terrilynn Monette to the bridge by Robert E. Lee, looking for any sign of Monette’s black Honda.
So many cars are under the waters of the bayou, though, it’s making their job trickier.
“We have seen many cars under the water. They are not all in clusters. Some of them are older than others and actually on the sonar machine you can see barnacles growing off of them,” said Caitlyn Garey of EquuSearch.
Crews face challenges as they look for any sign of Terrilynn Monette or her car beneath miles of bayou. There are so many other vehicles under the water.
“I think we got 11 or 12 in there, all along the bayou,” said Tim Miller.
The search crew says the cars may have been stolen, left over from Katrina, or dumped for some other reason.
Technology called side scan sonar bounces sound waves off objects to create images. Miller says the sonar reacts differently to new cars that are freshly buried under water. T
Finding so many cars in the water can definitely slow a search. Every car must be tagged with a heavy magnet attached to a buoy. Divers follow the line to the magnet to find the car.
It is meticulous work for a crew that specializes in finding the lost loved ones of others. But beneath Bayou St. John, there are cars whose stories remain untold.