Missing Natchitoches woman identified by LSU FACES lab after nearly 28 years
NATCHITOCHES - A deceased person whose remains were discovered in a Louisiana river has been identified as a local woman who went missing nearly 28 years ago, according to an update from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff's Office and Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office confirmed that, according to the LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services Lab in Baton Rouge, a deceased individual whose remains were recovered from a submerged vehicle in Cane River on March 15 has been identified as Kara E. Vaughn of Point Place, Natchitoches.
LSU Faces confirmed the findings by means of dental records, on Wednesday, March 24.
Authorities say Vaughn, 40, was reported missing on November 3, 1993.
Her family told representatives of the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office that Vaughn, a diabetic, left their Point Place home between 8 and 9 p.m. on the evening of November 3 in a white, 1978 Honda Civic without her medication and less than $10 dollars in cash.
When she didn't return home, her family was concerned and contacted authorities.
They told deputies that when Vaughn left she'd been upset and even said, “she would drive her vehicle in Cane River and never be found.”
At that time, Natchitoches Sheriff’s detectives began an investigation into Vaughn's disappearance, interviewing her family members and several close friends, but detectives reported that they were unable to develop any leads.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies say they searched Cane River multiple times, but were unable to find or identify any signs of the vehicle.
In 2007, when the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office offered assistance with new special sonar equipment to search the river for any clues, this search also, did not provide any clues, local authorities say.
Some of Vaughn's friends told detectives they believed she may have traveled to California. So, detectives labeled Vaughn and her vehicle as "missing," and sent this information to the National Crime Information Center.
But, almost 28-years later, in February 2021, NPSO deputies were notified by Ben Abraham of the Northwestern State University Fishing Team and his friend Zack Gagnard that while fishing they observed a possible vehicle on their fish finder submerged in Cane River, approximately 1.2 miles north of the Shell Beach Bridge or close to the 1300 block of Bermuda Road.
NPSO dive team members waited for weather conditions to improve.
Finally, on Friday March 12, NPSO dive members entered Cane River and found a Honda Civic with all windows rolled up submerged. Authorities say divers also found human remains inside of the vehicle, along with a laminated identification card and photograph of Kara Vaughn as well as other documents that were in surprisingly legible condition.
Vaughn's mother passed away in 2012, but Vaughn is survived by as sister, former CNN Headline News Anchor Lyn Vaughn, and a host of other family members.
Sheriff Stuart Wright said of the tragedy, "Unfortunately the outcome did not come out as we expected for Kara, but at least the family has some peace and closure now."
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