Friends, strangers gather in prayer as search for missing LSU student continues
BATON ROUGE - After a daylong search for missing LSU student Kori Gauthier along the Mississippi River on Friday, a group nearing 100 met along the levee to pray for her safe return.
"Earlier today I came out here and I felt like we were missing something," said Kristina Brooks, an LSU junior. "I just feel like we needed the spirit here."
Friends and strangers joined hands, searching for strength as the search for the 19-year-old freshman continues.
"People [came] from everywhere," Brooks said. "I don't even know. I don't know who they are, but they all came out and I didn't expect it to be this big and this loving. Kori, you have a lot of people who love you and are worried about you."
Flyers were distributed as the vigil began. Organizers read led the group in singing and scripture-reading.
Kori's family appreciated the gesture.
"With everything going on in the world, you can see that, guess what, humanity rules," said Spencer Gauthier, Kori's uncle. "Unfortunately, we're out here because my niece is missing. But there's a lot of love she's receiving, and that's great to see."
In spite of the tears that streamed down many faces, Brooks and her fellow organizers believe coming together provides a small piece of comfort to those close to Kori.
"I couldn't imagine what they are going through right now," TJ Polk said. "But this hit home for many of us who are students because this could have been any of us."
As the wind picked up, and the sounds of the vigil faded along with the sun, many took a moment to find the faith to keep going. Kori's family told them the mission is not yet over.
"The work isn't done because she hasn't been found," Gauthier said. "We have to remain vigilant and keep pushing, keep searching until we're able to find her. I don't want us to get false hope now and give up."
Family and friends are again asking for volunteers to help search the levee and river. Groups will meet near River Road and Skip Bertman Drive at 8 a.m. Saturday.
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