The car of missing teacher Terrilyn Monette has been found in Bayou St. John, near the corner of Harrison Avenue and Wisner Boulevard, state Rep. Austin Badon confirmed Saturday. Monette's body was believed to be in the car, Badon said.
A Slidell Police Department officer who volunteered to dive in the water and search for the car located it shortly before noon on Saturday. The car -- matching the license plate, make, model and color of Monette's -- was pulled from the water around 3:25 p.m.
The discovery came more than three months since Monette disappeared after leaving a Lakeview bar early March 2. For weeks, large groups of volunteers turned out to search for the 26-year-old woman, whose disappearance was covered in national media. New Orleans police led search efforts and reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance footage to investigate her disappearance. More than 17 cars were pulled from nearby water bodies.
Monette's family has been flying back and forth from her native California to continue to look for her. Monette's mother, Toni Enclade, was sobbing when she was reached by telephone on Saturday as her daughter's car was pulled from the bayou.
"I don't understand why it took them so long to find her car," Enclade said between tears. "This is supposedly one of the first places they would have checked. I'm just overwhelmed. It doesn't make sense."
Sobbing, she politely excused herself and hung up.
Badon has been spearheading car retrieval and other efforts for the last few months.
"It's a really sad moment," he said. I've gotten to know the family extremely well. I'm heartbroken for them. There's some sense of closure for them and I'm glad, though it wasn't the outcome i had hoped for."
The diver who found the car is Slidell police officer Mark Michaud, said Slidell police spokesman Daniel Seuzeneau.
Badon said authorities will perform routine toxicology tests and investigate whether any foul play was involved.
Monette was last seen leaving Parlay's Dream Lounge in the 800 block of Harrison Avenue about 5 a.m. on March 2. The second-grade teacher at Woodland West Elementary School in Harvey would have had to cross the bayou to return to her home.
A tow truck arrived at the scene about 1:55 p.m. The Orleans Parish Coroner's office has been notified of the situation.
When three women who had been missing for a decade were discovered in Cleveland last month alive, Enclade told The Huffington Post she was thinking of her daughter.
"The news that those girls were found so close to where they came up missing leads me to believe that there's a possible chance she's still in New Orleans," Enclade said, according to the report. "All this is doing is giving me hope that she's still out there somewhere."
Stay with NOLA.com as more details emerge.