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Body of missing LSU student found in Mississippi River

Body of missing LSU student found in Mississippi River
© Getty Images

The body of a Louisiana State University student who went missing last week has been found, the school and the Baton Rouge Police Department confirmed in a press release Wednesday

Kori Gauthier, an 18-year-old freshman at LSU, had not been seen since last Tuesday, and authorities uncovered her unoccupied car at the scene of a crash on the I-10 bridge in Louisiana’s capital city. 

A police search involving a canine narrowed authorities down to a portion of the Mississippi River, where a body later identified as Gauthier was discovered, according to CNN

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LSU Chief of Police Bart Thompson said in the statement Wednesday, “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,” he added. 

Thompson went on to note, “Based on cell phone tracking, video footage and a timeline of the events related to this case – combined with other evidence we shared with Kori’s parents that we are not at liberty to disclose publicly out of respect for their privacy –  we have concluded that there was no criminal activity or foul play involved.”

The press release did not provide any additional details on the circumstances surrounding Gauthier’s disappearance, and authorities have not yet released an official cause of death.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said he was sending prayers to Gauthier’s family and friends on behalf of the police department. 

“Over the last few days, we’ve held her close in our hearts, as we’ve worked with other agencies, volunteers, and loved ones to find Kori,” he said in the statement. “We will continue praying for Kori's family and friends during this difficult time.” 

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Other local leaders also sent messages of condolences Wednesday, including Interim LSU President Tom Galligan, who wrote that the “LSU community is devastated to learn” of Gauthier’s passing. 

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said, “Our entire community is heartbroken by the loss of this amazing young woman.” 

The joint press release noted that the Gauthier family “has asked to extend their sincerest thanks to all law enforcement officials and volunteers who helped in the investigation and the search,” requesting that the public “respect their privacy in the days and weeks going forward.” 

Gauthier’s father, Levar Gauthier, told local CBS affiliate station KLFY-TV, that the family was grateful for the messages of support they received from the community throughout the search, adding, “Continue to lift us up in prayer. That’s all we ask.”