(from the New Orleans Police Department) – The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office has positively identified the body found in the car pulled from Bayou St. John last Saturday as 26-year-old Terrilynn Monette. Coroner’s investigators performed the autopsy this morning, and confirmed Ms. Monette’s identity through dental records provided by her family. Investigators say there were no signs of trauma to the body, so Ms. Monette’s death has been ruled a drowning.
As is standard, the Coroner’s Office will now have toxicology tests performed and the NOPD awaits those results.
NOPD’s Accident Reconstruction – Fatality Unit detectives will now try to reconstruct the circumstances that led to Ms. Monette’s death. Meantime, Third District officers are working to enhance any and all video that has been collected in this case.
Ms. Monette was first reported missing on March 2nd. She was last seen with friends early that morning at a bar in the 800-block of Harrison Avenue.
Hundreds of members of the New Orleans community came to the City Park area to assist NOPD to search for clues that might have given insight into Ms. Monette’s whereabouts, with no results. When her car was not found, NOPD’s efforts moved to search Bayou St. John, as well as Lake Pontchartrain. Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries boats with specialized sonar, divers, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Helicopter, and a team of underwater recovery experts who drove to New Orleans from Texas, graciously offered their assistance and many hours to search for Ms. Monette’s vehicle.
Last Saturday, Slidell Police Officer Mark Michaud, who is a recovery diver, spotted Monette’s vehicle in Bayou St. John, near Wisner and Harrison Avenue. Once it was retrieved from the water, the car was relocated to the Coroner’s Office, where Ms. Monette’s remains were removed.
“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”, said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.