The decomposed body found this weekend in a Louisiana bayou was identified Monday as that of a Long Beach teacher missing for three months, the New Orleans Police Department said.
The statement said Terrilynn Monette, who was last seen on March 2, was identified through dental records. The death was ruled a drowning, and there were no signs of trauma to the body, police said.
On Saturday, a diver with the Slidell Police Department who was volunteering to dive the waterways in the search for Monette found her Honda Accord in the bayou.
“I’m in shock,” said Monette’s mother, Toni Enclade, who told CNN earlier that she had been notified a body was found.
“To know that she could have possibly been there for three months,” she said, overcome with emotion …. “I can’t believe this. I just can’t believe this.”
Monette, 26, was last seen leaving Parlay’s Dream Lounge in New Orleans, where she had been celebrating with friends her nomination for a “Teacher of the Year” award.
Authorities have focused a large part of their search efforts on the waterways because Monette would have had to drive across the bayou to get from the bar to her home.
The diver who found the car and body, Slidell Police Officer Mark Michaud, has been “working closely with the Monette family” because of his expertise in diving recoveries.
In her first year of teaching second grade at Woodland West Elementary School, Monette turned one of the lowest-performing classes into one of the highest achieving.
CNN’s Scott Thompson and Don Lemon contributed to this report.