NEW ORLEANS - On the 19th day of the search for a missing Jefferson Parish teacher, community members gathered on the steps of City Hall. They lit candles praying for Terrilynn Monette's safe return.
Community wonders if officials are doing enough to find missing teacher
On the 19th day of the search for a missing Jefferson Parish teacher, community members questioned whether the city is doing enough.
'I'm going to come back every week to City Hall, until [officials] decide that they want to be a part of this,' said Terry Brown, who organized the vigil after meeting Monette's family during the search.
Brown doesn't believe the city is doing enough to find Monette, pointing to the lack of city officials and council members at the vigil.
'I brought it right here for you to pray for one of your citizens and you can't even find time in your heart to do that,' said Terry Brown.
Councilmember Susan Guidry is in charge of the district in which Monette went missing. Guidry's office said she was unaware of the vigil and had planned other engagements Thursday night.
Her office sent an email to District A constituents Monday, asking them to contact authorities if they had any information on Monette's whereabouts and advertising an upcoming fundraising event to increase the reward.
'Our thoughts are with the family during this time. NOPD continues its investigation into the circumstances around Ms. Monette's disappearance,' said Ryan Berni, a city spokesman.
Police said they're working as hard as they can.
Monette was last seen leaving Parlay's bar in Lakeview in the early morning hours of Saturday, Mar. 2
Security guards at the bar said they saw Monette with a man inside a car in the parking lot of the bank next door.
So far, police have traced about 10 percent of what likely would have been Monette's route home.
Police said surveillance cameras show Monette drove out of the bank parking lot onto Harrison Avenue around 5:15 a.m. They believe she was alone in her car at that time, but declined to release information on whether any vehicles were seen behind her.
Traffic cameras show Monette took a left from Harrison Avenue onto Marconi Drive, a road that cuts through City Park. What happened next is still a mystery.
The stretch of roadway appears to have no cameras and is surrounded by trees and grass, with a lagoon on one side.
Search teams have scoured City Park and its bodies of water, as well as nearby Bayou St. John, and turned up nothing.
Detectives don't believe Monette ever made it to her gated apartment complex on Robert E. Lee Boulevard.
There's no word on whether traffic cameras at two separate intersections on Robert E. Lee have provided any clues.
There is also no word on whether her apartment complex is equipped with surveillance cameras, although none were immediately visible.
Police said they can't compromise an active investigation by releasing more details.
NOPD also declined to say whether there is a designated missing persons unit, although none is mentioned on the department's website.
Investigators are following all leads, said a spokesperson.
Meanwhile, family, friends and complete strangers said they'll continue to pray for Monette until she is found.
'I have a daughter I have kids, and it could very easily be any one of our kids, so yes, I'm going to to be here as long as I can,' said Demetria Isidore, a Plaquemines Parish native who grew up with Monette's mother.
Monette's immediate family now lives in California. Her mother plans to return to Louisiana in the beginning of April to help with the search for a second time.
The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, State Police, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office are all helping with the search.
If you have any information, you're asked to call NOPD at (504) 658-4000 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
The reward for information that leads to Monette's whereabouts is $3,500.
Her 2012 black Honda Accord is also still missing. It has Louisiana license plates WUN494.
Brown is holding a golf tournament April 7 to increase the reward to find Monette. It will start at 8 a.m. at Belle Terre Country Club in LaPlace.
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