Story Summary

Terrilynn Monette disappearance

capture26-year-old Terrilynn Monette was reported missing on March 2, 2013.

Her body was eventually discovered in her car, which was submerged in Bayou St. John, on June 8, 2013.

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Police pulled yet another stolen car out of Bayou St. John Tuesday morning.

The car was reported stolen in St. Bernard Parish, making it roughly the 20th car pulled from Bayou St.  John this year, with 18 of those cars being pulled during the search for Terilyn Monette.

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s office confirmed to WGNO News on Friday that Terrilyn Monette “had negligible alcohol in her system and no trace of drugs.”

The Coroner had previously ruled Monette’s cause of death to be drowning.

(from the United Negro College Fund) New Orleans, LA - In March 2013, Terrilynn’s family and her adopted home of New Orleans lost not only a brilliant educator, but also a warm, loving person. To honor Terrilynn Monette’s memory and passion to affect the lives of our youth through education, her family has established the Terrilynn Monette Scholarship Fund through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Through her knowledge and commitment, Terrilynn changed the lives of dozens of students and helped them to realize the limitlessness of their own potential.

Terrilynn Monette was a symbol of the exciting changes in education happening in New Orleans. Within a year of moving from California to New Orleans to teach, she had transformed one of the lowest-performing classrooms in her school to one of its highest-achieving. Terrilynn’s passion and dedication to education earned a “Teacher of the Year” nomination in her district. Everyone expected her star to shine even brighter, and to light the path for so many students who had been left in the dark.

The family of Terrilynn Monette and UNCF invite you to honor her memory by giving thousands of students the joy of discovering their intellectual potential. To donate to the Terrilynn Monette Scholarship Fund, please send contributions to:


1100 Poydras Street

Suite 1400

New Orleans, LA 70163

For more information about the Terrilynn Monette Scholarship Fund, please contact LaJuana Chenier at 504 -581-3794.

NOPD divers returned to water at Bayou St. John on Thursday to look for additional evidence where once-missing teacher Terrilyn Monette crashed her car.

Divers were looking for any additional evidence that may remain in the bayou.  Part of their investigation includes the reconstruction of as much of the accident as possible.

Monette disappeared in the early morning hours on March 2nd.

Her body was found inside her submerged vehicle.

The coroner ruled her death a drowning.

Monette Memorial Days after divers discovered missing teacher Terrilynn Monette’s car in Bayou St. John, members of the community are still going to the scene to pay respects.

Darian Trotter spoke to several people offering condolences and thanking State Rep. Austin Badon for his role in the recovery.

“This young lady was a teacher of our most valuable assets our children,” Badon said.

The bridge over bayou St. John at Harrison Avenue & Wisner Boulevard has a growing memorial for Terrilynn Monette.

It was created by a steady stream, from the caring community, who’ve come to pay respects ever since the once missing teacher’s car & body were recovered.

Trotter asked, “What are your thoughts today? That I hope that the full story will be disclosed; that the family might understand what happened,” Pastor Brenda Square said. “It’s a terrible tragedy, this loss.”

The 26-year old Woodland West Elementary School teacher was last seen March 2nd, at a Lakeview bar; where she was celebrating her nomination for ‘Teacher of The Year.’

Since then there had been repeated searches of area waterways; but it wasn’t until Saturday that a diver discovered Monette’s submerged Honda Accord.

Now the community is joining Monette’s family in thanking State Rep. Austin Badon, who spearheaded several of the searches; especially Monette’s mother.

“You know my wife and I we watched the pain and anguish on her face and I know I had to do something,” Badon said.

“I’m glad he participated,” Monette’s cousin Donald Parker said. “I’m glad he did; if it hadn’t been for him we wouldn’t have this closure at all.”

“We’re all deeply saddened; saddened for her students, sad for her family, sad for ourselves,” said Woodland West Principal Amy Hoyle.

Hoyle says Monette’s school family is equally pleased.

“We’re grateful for his determination and helping to find her and answer some of our looming questions,” Hoyle said.

That’s how Pastor Brenda Square of Beecher Memorial United Church of Christ sees it.

She says in this case Badon was a true leader.

“He had the platform to gather the people and he was compelled to do something and that’s what leaders are called to do and I just thank god he was able to do this; to bless this family and bless this community,” Pastor Square said.

A book drive in Monette’s honor is underway at Woodland West Elementary School.

The public is asked to donate books there.

A memorial service for Terrilynn Monette in New Orleans is pending.

Could the Russian mob have something to do with Terrilynn Monette’s disappearance?(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.

Could the Russian mob have something to do with Terrilynn Monette’s disappearance?The LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans says the body pulled from Bayou St. John on Saturday is that of Terrilyn Monette.

The new release from the LSUHSC says “a team of forensic dentists … used dental records to identify Terrilyn Monette.”

The autopsy to confirm Monette’s official cause of death has not yet been completed.

Read the full news release below:

New Orleans, LA – A team of forensic dentists at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry identified the body of a 26-year-old teacher found inside her car submerged in Bayou St. John on Saturday, June 8, 2013. Robert Barsley, DDS, JD, Professor and Head of the Division of Diagnostic Sciences in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry and Biomaterials, and Director of Oral Health Resources, Community & Hospital Dentistry, and Ronald Carr, DDS, Clinical Professor of Pathology and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry, used her dental records to identify Terrilynn Monette, who had been missing since leaving a Lakeview bar early March 2.

In a case that drew national attention, Drs. Barsley and Carr worked with pathologists at the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office to bring closure to Terrilynn Monette’s family. As often happens with complex cases, identifications are made through dental records. LSUHSC New Orleans forensic dentists have worked with coroners’ offices in a number of jurisdictions in the region, law enforcement, and the FACES Lab at LSU for many years. LSUHSC faculty report their findings to these agencies who release the information.


Terrilyn Monnette Memorial Grows

The memorial for Terrilyn Monnette has been growing.

Colorful flowers and stuffed animals line Bayou St. John, specifically the area where crews found her car. The memorial is near Harrison Avenue and Wisner Boulevard.

Terrilyn Monnette had been missing for more than three months when her body was found sending shock waves throughout the community.

(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.