Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS - More than 100 candles lit Friday night outside police headquarters served as a sign of hope for Terrilynn Monette's family.

Family, friends, and community leaders gathered to pray for the Jefferson Parish teacher's safe return, nearly five weeks after she went missing.

'She's not just our daughter, she's a daughter of New Orleans,' said Monette's father, Terry. 'And to see the mayor and police out here, we greatly appreciate everybody that's coming out here today showing that they're concerned about our daughter and we want to keep this fire burning for her.'

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has reached out to Monette's family over the phone in the past, but for the first time Thursday attended one of half a dozen vigils that have been held for Monette.

'I just wanted to assurethe family that people here really love here and and care about her and we're not going to forget about here. We are all going to do everything that we can to find her, hopefully safely,' said Landrieu.

Monette was last seen in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 2nd. A traffic camera shows she turned left onto Marconi from Harrison Avenue after leaving Parlay's Bar in Lakeview. No one knows what happened next.

'It's been a difficult time, it hasn't gotten any easier,' said Monette's mother, Toni Enclade. 'I went through Easter without my baby and it's very hard it's very hard.'

Search crews have combed areas like City Park. Thursday, our partner learned three different teams of dogs hit on the same clearing. But investigators turned up only cooking oil. The dogs responded to a false positive, a police spokesman told Eyewitness News.

Detectives said there are no leads, but the active investigation now spans several states.

'We are going to find Terrilynn,' said Third District Commander John Thomas. 'I have committed to that 100 percent.'

The vigil grew especially emotional with a sup rise visit from a family who understands, perhaps, better than anyone. The family of Shane Fell, who has been missing from Jefferson Parish for nearly two years, embraced Monette's family.

Students from Southern University of New Orleans also attended the vigil.

Dr. Victor Ukpolo, SUNO Chancellor, said he received a call from the chancellor of Monette's alma matter, California State University at San Bernadino, Friday morning.

Within hours, Ukpolo and his staff rallied dozens of students to fill a bus and show their support.

'I'm touched, but I'm not surprised because that's what the school is about, to try to reach out and do what we can to try to make the community a better place to live,' said Ukpolo.

Monette's immediate family flew in from California for a second time early Friday morning to continue to spread the word about Monette's disappearance. While Monette is a native of California, her mother grew up in Plaquemines Parish.

Now Enclade's plea remains the same.

'I just pray, please help me find my baby. Please,' cried Enclade.

If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. You don't have to leave your name and could get a $5,500 reward.

A golf tournament will be held Sunday, April 7th at Belle Terre Country Club in LaPlace to raise money for the reward.
Read or Share this story: