Coroner’s Office Says Kori Gauthier, Missing LSU Student, Died from Drowning
Death from drowning. No signs of foul play.
That was the preliminary ruling from the coroner's office after LSU student Kori Gauthier's body was found in the Mississippi River after a nearly weeklong search, according to The Advocate.
Authorities have confirmed that the body found in the Mississippi River on Tuesday morning has been identified as 18-year-old Kori Gauthier.
The LSU student and Opelousas native has been missing since last Wednesday when her vehicle was discovered at a salvage yard.
Gauthier's family grew suspicious after they were unable to get in contact with her, leading them to find her vehicle. It was then that her family found out that her car had been wrecked on the Mississippi River bridge along I-10, but Gauthier wasn’t in the car at the time but her wallet and cell phone were left inside.
This led to an all-out search over the past week as family members and strangers alike followed developments in a story that left many with more questions than answers.
Early on Tuesday morning, a tugboat spotted a body in the middle of the river and alerted the St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s office. Once the authorities were able to meet with LSU police, an autopsy confirmed that the body of 18-year-old Kori Gauthier was found in the Mississippi River.
According to a tweet from Jim Hummel with our media partners at KATC, officials say no criminal activity or foul play is involved.
WAFB's Lester Duhé tweeted that police arrived at the conclusion of no foul play based on cell phone tracking, video footage, and a timeline of events related to this case.
Police also mentioned evidence that they were "not at liberty to disclose publicly."
LSU Police Chief Bart Thompson spoke on what he described as a difficult conclusion
Since Kori was first reported missing, the LSU Police Department, Baton Rouge Police Department and other law enforcement agencies and volunteers have taken exhaustive measures to locate her and, in the process, to determine what led to her disappearance. This is a difficult conclusion for all of us, but we hope this will bring closure for the Gauthier family.
Interim LSU President Tom Galligan echoed that sentiment.
Our LSU community is devastated to learn of the loss of Kori Gauthier. Our thoughts are with her parents, her family, and all who knew her during this very difficult time. We offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends.
Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome called the loss heartbreaking in an official statement.
Our entire community is heartbroken by the loss of this amazing young woman. I send my most heartfelt condolences to Kori’s family and loved ones. Please keep them in your prayers during this time.
Kori Gauthier's father, Levar Gauthier, has been relentless in the search for his daughter since she went missing last week. Late last week he offered his appreciation to everyone far and wide who may not have known his daughter but showed "compassion" and "overwhelming support" to their family.
I really appreciate the effort that LSU students have put in, Southern University students, friends from Opelousas, LaPlace, Texas, you know, the overwhelming support for my daughter. A lot of people don’t know her but to see the compassion people have, I really appreciate it.
Levar Gauthier posted the heartbreaking news on his official Facebook page, saying that God granted him "the one wish" he had: To "receive her in any way to be put to rest properly."
Kori's uncle, Spencer Gauthier, posted the following video to his Facebook page.
No cause of death has been released at this time, but we will update this story as more confirmed information becomes available.
Officials are asking the public to respect the privacy of the Gauthier family at this time.