UPDATE — 11:27 P.M. EST, 06-10-13:
LSU forensic dentists confirmed New Orleans teacher, Terrilynn Monette‘s, identity through dental records, said Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office chief investigator, John Gagliano.
The official cause of her death is drowning and there was no trauma found to her body. Toxicology results are pending and the NOPD’s fatality unit are attempting to recreate the events surrounding her death to determine how exactly it happened, reports NOLA.com.
“On behalf of this police department, I want to express my sincerest condolences to Ms. Monette’s family, and assure them that our detectives will do everything they can to find the answers as to how this tragedy happened,” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said in a statement.
At approximately 3:25 P.M. CST, the car of missing New Orleans teacher Terrilynn Monette, 26, was pulled from Bayou St. John and a decomposing body, believed to be that of the dedicated teacher, was discovered inside, reports NOLA.com.
As previously reported by NewsOne, on March 2, Monette was out celebrating her recent “Teacher of the Year” nomination with friends at a local bar, when she walked to her car alone to sleep off the effects of too much alcohol before driving home.
She was last seen talking to a man around 4:00 a.m.
The search for her has spanned from New Orleans to her native Long Beach, California, and has drawn national attention.
“I don’t understand why it took them so long to find her car,” Monette’s mother, Toni Enclade said tearfully. “This is supposedly one of the first places they would have checked. I’m just overwhelmed. It doesn’t make sense.”
Slidell police officer Mark Michaud volunteered to dive into the water; the discovery came more than three months after Monette disappeared.
“It’s a really sad moment,” state Rep. Austin Badon said. I’ve gotten to know the family extremely well. I’m heartbroken for them. There’s some sense of closure for them and I’m glad, though it wasn’t the outcome I had hoped for.”
Authorities will perform routine toxicology tests and an investigation to determine if foul play was involved is ongoing.