A missing New Orleans teacher's car has been found with a body inside, according to Louisiana authorities. Terrilynn Monette, an elementary school teacher, was reportedly last seen on March 2 after a night of partying with her friends.
The missing Louisiana teacher's car was found in Bayou St. John by Mark Michaud, a diver with the Slidell Police Department who offered to search the waterways to look for Monette. Michaud has extensive experience in diving recovery and has been working closely with the Monette family throughout the search for the missing teacher.
Monette's mother Toni Enclade told CNN that investigators have not confirmed the identity of the body found inside the missing New Orleans teacher's car. However, Slidell Police Department Detective Daniel Seuzeneau said in an email to CNN that the body is believed to be that of Terrilynn Monette.
The search for the missing New Orleans elementary school teacher was conducted by Texas-based company Equusearch until March 20, when it announced it was calling off its search effort. The New Orleans Police Department continued to look for Monette, while her friends and family helped with the search.
Authorities had focused much of the search effort on the waterways, knowing that Monette would have had to have driven across the bayou to get home from Dream Lounge, where she'd been celebrating her nomination for a "Teacher of the Year" award.
Monette came to New Orleans from California in order to take part in New Orleans' "teachNOLA" program. She quickly earned commendations for her accomplishments in the program, turning one of the lowest-performing second-grade classes at Woodland West Elementary School into one of the highest achieving. Monette received the "Teacher of the Year" award nomination for this achievement.
"I always wanted to be a teacher," Monette said in a 2011 video, "and what better place to teach than New Orleans, where passionate teachers are needed most?"
Monette's mother was distraught imagining the possibility that the body in the car belonged to her daughter. "To know that she could have possibly been there for three months," she said, adding that she is not ready to entertain a definitive answer from authorities regarding the body's identity.
"I can't even begin to go there right now," Enclade said. "I'm in shock. I can't believe this. I just can't believe this."