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Body pulled from Mississippi River identified as missing LSU freshman Kori Gauthier

RESERVE — Authorities have identified the body pulled from the Mississippi River in Reserve Tuesday morning as missing LSU freshman Kori Gauthier.

Baton Rouge and Louisiana State University officials offered their condolences to the Gauthier family in a statement posted to the university’s website.

“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.”

“Our entire community is heartbroken by the loss of this amazing young woman,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “I send my most heartfelt condolences to Kori’s family and loved ones. Please keep them in your prayers during this time.”

Kori’s father confirmed the identification on his Facebook page.

“God granted me the one wish I had, and that was to receive her in any way to be put to rest properly,” he said.

The Gauthier family expressed gratitude to all law enforcement officials and volunteers who have assisted in the investigation over the past week. They also ask for privacy in the days and weeks moving forward as they process this loss.

A spokesperson for the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a body was pulled from the Mississippi River just before 11 a.m. Tuesday morning in Reserve, near West Second Street and River Road. Police were called after a crew member on a tugboat spotted the body in the river.

Gauthier had been missing since Wednesday of last week. LSU Police reported that her vehicle was found unoccupied at the scene of an accident on the I-10 eastbound side of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge.

“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,” said LSU Chief of Police Bart Thompson in a statement posted to LSU’s website. “This is a difficult conclusion for all of us, but we hope this will bring closure for the Gauthier family.”

Thompson added, “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.”

Agencies involved in the search efforts included LSU Police, Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Attorney General, Louisiana State Police, K9 Mercy, Southeast Louisiana Rescue/Search, Iberville Sheriff’s Office, Livingston Sheriff’s Office, St. Charles Sheriff’s Office, United Cajun Navy WBR Sheriff’s Office, Cajun Navy 2016/Pinnacle SAR, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, EBR ABC Office, New Orleans Harbor Police, U.S. Coast Guard, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, along with other volunteer groups and individual volunteers.