NEW ORLEANS -- A body found in a canal in eastern New Orleans Monday has been identified as a woman who was missing from Reserve since February.
St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre confirmed Tuesday that a body found and retrieved from the Intracoastal Waterway is that of Lakeitha Joseph. The body was found near 13800 Old Gentilly Road, about a half mile from Bayou Bienvenue.
The cause of death, according to the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office, is drowning.
Joseph, 29, along with her husband Kenneth, 34, had been missing for the past several weeks. Kenneth still remains missing at this time.
Sheriff Tregre said the focus now is on finding her missing husband, adding he would like to see a coordinated effort to search the same body of water for his body.
On Wednesday, the New Orleans Police Department said officers were looking for Kenneth in the water around Chef Menteur Highway, and that the NOPD Homicide unit was working with the St. John Parish Sheriff's Office to determine what happened to the Josephs.
"We have no reason to believe Kenneth Joseph is more than a missing person and a possible victim of foul play," Tregre said. "The worst case scenario, Joseph may have also been a victim of homicide."
On Feb. 28, a van that was being driven by the couple was found in good condition in an apartment complex in Georgia, with no signs of Kenneth or Lakeitha Joseph. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said the van was found at a complex in College Park, Ga.
Family members said they last from Lakeitha and Kenneth when they left their home in the 500 block of Homewood Place on Feb. 18.
According to police, Kenneth often borrowed his sister's van, which was found in Georgia, at night but always returned it in the morning before she had to go to work. Family members became suspicious when Kenneth didn't return the van on Feb. 19. They went to couple's home and found it unlocked.
Acting on a tip from a family member, on Mar. 7, search crews scoured the area near I-55 in the search for the missing Reserve couple, looking underneath the highway near Ruddock, and crews searched in the water, in the air and on foot for the Josephs. The search ultimately proved unsuccessful.