Coroner: Body found near Grosse Tete is missing school administrator
BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office says they have identified a badly decomposed body found in Grosse Tete as missing school administrator Lyntell Washington.
The coroner released a statement just before 4 p.m. Thursday that said Washington's body was identified through forensic odonotology and dental comparison films.
The autopsy was performed Wednesday, but the coroner said results were inconclusive pending further testing. The initial autopsy did confirm the then unidentified woman was pregnant at the time of her death with the cause of death determined to be a gunshot wound to the head.
Washington's body was found on Tuesday morning by workers in an Iberville Parish sugarcane field. Sheriff's deputies at that time had reason to believe the body could belong to that of Washington, so the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner was contacted to come take possession of the body.
At the time the body was found, Lyntell Washington had been missing since June 9 when her 3-year-old daughter was located wandering around alone in a parking lot. Her mother’s abandoned vehicle was found nearby with blood inside.
On the following day, police took 39-year-old Robert Marks into custody on aggravated kidnapping and desertion of a child charges. Marks is employed as assistant principal at the same school where Washington worked, Brookstown Middle Magnet Academy in Baton Rouge.
Police have said their investigation revealed Marks and Washington were romantically involved and that Washington was seven months pregnant with his child. Marks is married to another woman.
Detectives said before the body was discovered that foul play was suspected in the case of the 40-year-old woman's disappearance. Marks has remained in jail since his arrest with charges that authorities have said will be upgraded in the event that Washington's body was located. Baton Rouge Police detectives said they will revisit the case on Friday and question Marks further at that time.
Washington's body was located not far from an area near Ramah to which an active search party had been dispatched during the search efforts after the woman's disappearance. Authorities had used cell phone signals from both Marks and Washington to narrow the search to that area. The initial search for Washington was suspended on Friday evening around 6 p.m.
The initial results of the coroner's autopsy were inconclusive due to the advanced state of decomposition in which the body was found. Initially, the coroner said the LSP Crime Lab would be required to perform DNA testing to determine the identity of the deceased woman, but dental records have allowed the EBR Coroner's Office to make a positive identification.
According to BRPD, the case is still an ongoing investigation.