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Police, volunteers search Mississippi River for signs of missing LSU student

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BATON ROUGE - An LSU spokesperson said no foul play is suspected in LSU student Kori Gauthier's disappearance. 

"At this time, based on evidence collected during the investigation thus far, law enforcement officials suspect that no criminal activity or foul play took place. Officials continue to keep in close contact with Kori’s parents to keep them updated on any developments. We ask everyone to respect their privacy during this time and to keep them in your thoughts."

The spokesperson also said Mounted Patrol would start searching the levee in both directions from Farr Park on Sunday, while other agencies and police departments continued the search on boats with the latest available sonar technology.

On Saturday, according to a statement from LSU, a K9 cadaver dog alerted twice in the same area on the river.

The river is currently 85-90 feet deep and conditions were too unsafe to deploy divers on Saturday.

Gauthier went missing sometime before 1 a.m. on Wednesday. Her abandoned car was discovered that morning on I-10 east on the Mississippi River Bridge after someone crashed into it.

An LSU spokesperson said Friday evening that the vehicle had been left unoccupied on the bridge for "at least an hour" before the wreck. The Baton Rouge Police Department released a statement Friday detailing what happened after the initial crash.

"On April 7, 2021 shortly after midnight we responded to the Horace Wilkinson Bridge regarding a reported accident involving a stalled vehicle. Upon arrival the officer observed the stalled vehicle was unoccupied. The officer acted quickly to have the vehicle removed from the roadway to prevent any other crashes. The registered owner of the unoccupied vehicle was not contacted, but this investigation remained ongoing."

BRPD added that officers have been searching for Gauthier since her disappearance, including a dive team in the Mississippi River.

The United Cajun Navy announced Thursday it was joining the search.

Volunteers were invited to meet along the levee near the LSU Vet School Friday morning. Gauthier's family was there to accompany those searching the area. 

LSU PD has opened a command center, and anyone with information is asked to call 225-578-0807.

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