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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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The black Honda Accord registered to missing teacher Terrilynn Monette was recovered from Bayou St. John Saturday afternoon.

Family members and State Rep. Austin Badon tell WGNO News Monette’s remains were found inside the vehicle.

“It was not the outcome that we had looked for, but we did find her,” Badon said.

It was news that drew hundreds of concerned citizens out from their respective homes.

“Everyone wants to know what happened,” supporter Denise Strauss said.

Capture“It’s one of those things, you really feel for this woman, and the family and it’s become part of our lives unfortunately for the last three months,” supporter Randy Foucheaux said.

Woodlawn West elementary teacher Terrilynn Monette disappeared March 2nd.

She was last seen driving away from Parlay’s Bar in the 800 block of Harrison Avenue in Lakeview.

Since then, the community has banded together to pray for her safe return.

“We did a lot of vigils for her we prayed every day at school for her and it’s just really astonishing to see this happen,” former co-worker Lloyd Auzout said.

For months volunteer dive teams conducted searches of area waterways and recovered more than a dozen cars.

But it wasn’t until Saturday afternoon, that a diver located Monette’s black Honda Accord.

Authorities said the car’s description and license plate were a match.

It had been submerged in Bayou St. John near Wisner Boulevard and Harrison Avenue.

“This area had been searched,” Badon explained. “We searched it extensively, but her car was missed.”

“The family needs to know what happened to her the evening she disappeared,” Strauss said.

Even in the face of uncertainty, with many unanswered questions, the family says this weekend’s discovery is the beginning of closure.

“We’re happy. We’re happy and sad. We’re happy and sad,” Monette’s cousin Donald Parker said.

“They’ve been in our prayers since the beginning of this ordeal,” Foucheaux said.

As the recovery mission came to an end, people looking on said they’ll remember Terrilynn Monette whenever they’re near Bayou St. John.

“Every time, probably for the rest of my life,” Strauss said. “I will think of this. I will think of her.”

An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday morning.

A police investigation into what happened continues.

monette foundTragic news in the case of missing teacher Terrilyn Monette.

New Orleans authorities confirm her body was recovered from Bayou St. John; near Harrison Avenue and Wisner Boulevard.

Monette was last seen in March, driving away from a popular bar.

Since her disappearance  there have been a number of prayer vigils across the city.

And after months of searching area waterways dive teams located her black Honda Saturday afternoon.

State Rep. Austin Badon spearheaded several of the water searches.

“It was not the outcome we had looked for but we did find her. It allowed the family to have some since of relief and closure,” Badon said.

An autopsy is pending as a police investigation continues.


The family of Terrilynn Monette is getting frustrated with the NOPD’s effort to find the missing teacher.

Friday evening, they gathered with supporters for a vigil at Harrison Avenue and Marconi.  That’s the intersection where, three months ago, Monette’s car was recorded by a nearby traffic camera.  It was the last trace of the teacher who’d been at a Lakeview bar earlier in the evening.

During previous vigils, Monette’s family spoke about keeping her case in the public’s eye.  But Friday, they talked more about recent reports that the NOPD had yet to check Monette’s laptop computer to see who may have been emailing or chatting with her.

“The community should be outraged definitely hearing that a person is trying to do something about the computer and he’s been taken off of it.  I’m very upset about that,” Monette’s father told the crowd using a microphone and speaker to deliver the message.

According to a story on WGNO news this week, the NOPD pulled its only officer who knows how to search the hard drives of computers from the case.  The department said the officer was under multiple disciplinary investigations for failing to perform.

“The computer, if it did hold any kind of leads or evidence, it should have been evaluated first,” Monette’s mother, Toni Enclade told the crowd.

It’s been 3 months since Terrilyn Monette vanished. Is it possible the New Orleans Police Department let the case slip through the cracks?

The Police Association of New Orleans says the investigation stalled because of mismanagement within the NOPD.

Apparently, the only detective with the skills necessary to investigate crucial evidence in the case was reassigned. Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas says Detective Dan Plustache is under disciplinary investigations for failing to perform. But PANO says the detective has a pristine record who scored a 4.5 out of 5 on his last evaluation.


NOPD Officer Files Complaint in Terrilynn Monnette Case

monnette+4The Police Association of New Orleans says the only NOPD detective with the skills necessary to investigate crucial evidence in the Terrilynn Monette case has been reassigned. Vanessa Bolano has the story.

Three months ago Terrilynn Monnette vanished. Authorities have search tirelessly, but their efforts have not led to Terrilynn.

Tonight Captain Michael Glasser with PANO says one crucial piece of evidence remains: her computer. Glasser says the one detective in the NOPD with the forensic training necessary to uncover clues inside of it has been pulled off the case.

“This is the one piece of evidence that remains untouched for the most part, and this might be the one piece of evidence that leads us to a clue as to what happened to her,” says Glasser.

Tonight detective Dan Plustache has been reassigned to the night watch out of the 4th District station in Algiers. Glasser says it’s because Plustache filed a complaint saying he was unable to focus on Monnette’s computer because the department continued to assign him to irrelevant tasks.

“They have him fixing Xerox machines. They have him directing traffic. They have him doing everything but digital forensics,” says Glasser.

NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas sent us this statement. Serpas says, “It’s reprehensible that Officer Plustache would intentionally try to make Ms. Monnette’s family believe that this department has underperformed for them.” Serpas goes on to say Plustache is under multiple disciplinary investigations for failing to perform.

Glasser tells WGNO Plustache is a 14-year veteran with a pristine record who scored a 4.5 out of 5 in his last evaluation.

“All of these investigations have come up since he brought up the point that he was being mismanaged,” says Glasser.

When asked about Monnette’s computer Glasser says, “I imagine they’re going to have to give it to an outside agency to do because we certainly can’t so it in house.”

Anne Cutler talks to Rep. Austin Badon about organizing a new search for Terrilyn Monette by having more submersed vehicles pulled out of the water near Bayou St. John.

Could the Russian mob have something to do with Terrilyn Monette’s disappearance? That’s one of the theories state representative Austin Badon is considering.

Badon will be on WGNO’s 411 show this weekend and he says the New Orleans Police Department is looking at alternative explanations for why the teacher went missing, since they haven’t found any clues from their search in Bayou St. John.

Badon says the FBI is getting involved because her disappearance may be similar to the kidnapping case in Cleveland.

“There is a potential for something like that to be going on,” Badon says. “We’ve heard everything from the Russian mob who have come in, but we just don’t know.”

Monnette was reported missing three months ago and Representative Badon says he wants the search to go nationwide.

If you want to see the entire interview watch The 411 with Anne Cutler Sunday on WGNO at 6:30 a.m and on WNOL at 8:30 a.m.


Crews pulled this car from Bayou St. John on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 (photo from WGNO’s Daniel Gibbs).

Crews continue to pull cars from Bayou St. John in the hopes of finding a clue to the disappearance of Terrilyn Monette.

State Representative Austin Badon tells WGNO’s Jon Huffman that crews have removed 17 cars from Bayou St. John.

While most of the vehicles do not fit the description of Monette’s car, crews are also eager to remove them for ecological reasons.

Friday afternoon, family and friends of Terrilyn Monette joined teachers and students at Woodland West Elementary School in Harvey, the school where Monette teaches, for a balloon release.

Organizers say they wanted to remember Monette on this last day of school before the summer break.  They also want to keep the missing teacher case in the public’s eye.

“Today is the last official day for teachers.  And before we ended the school year, we wanted to send some good wishes, some hope, some prayers, all of the love in our hearts, for Terrilyn,” said Amy Hoyle who is the principal at Woodland West.

Monette was last seen in the early morning hours of March 2nd when she left Parlay’s Bar in Lakeview in her car.  Searches of area waterways for the car have netted no results.  Monette’s family feels she may have been abducted and is maintaining hope that she is still alive.