LAFAYETTE, La. — A body recovered from the Mississippi River in the St. John the Baptist Parish was identified as missing LSU student Kori Gauthier, authorities said Wednesday.
Based on cell phone tracking, video footage, a timeline of events, and information shared with the Gauthier family, there was no criminal activity or foul play involved, LSU Chief of Police Bart Thompson said in a release.
Her body was found on Tuesday by a boater.
“God granted me the one wish I had and that was to receive her in any way to be put to rest properly,” Levar Gauthier, Kori’s father said in a Facebook post.
Her uncle, Spencer Gauthier, said in a Facebook video that it wasn’t the result they were hoping for but that the family can now start the healing process.
“Unfortunately, she’s not coming home the way that we want, but we do have closure and the healing process can start for her parents and her siblings,” he said.
Gauthier said he wanted to share one last song with her — Stevie Wonder’s “These Three Words” — and encouraged others to listen to it, too.
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“Listen to that song, hold on to those words, that way of life,” he said.
Gauthier, a freshman from Opelousas, Louisiana, had been missing since April 6. Her car was rear-ended on the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge at about 1 a.m. on April 7. Her car was taken to a junkyard and her cell phone and wallet were inside.
“This is a difficult conclusion for all of us, but we hope this will bring closure for the Gauthier family,” Thompson said.
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The search for Gauthier, which lasted days, was a multi-agency effort, Thompson said.
“Our LSU community is devastated to learn of the loss of Kori Gauthier,” said Interim LSU President Tom Galligan. “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.”
The Gauthier family thanked volunteers and law enforcement officials for their assistance and asked for privacy in the days and weeks going forward.
Follow Ashley White on Twitter @AshleyyDi.