OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — One of 2021’s biggest and most heart-wrenching stories is the one that belongs to Kori Gauthier. She was an LSU student and Opelousas native who went missing in early April. Her body was recovered from the Mississippi River about a week after her disappearance. It’s still unclear exactly what happened to her.

Gauthier was last seen on the night of Tuesday, April 6. She was discovered to be missing when a driver crashed into her unattended car on the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge early Wednesday morning. Her cell phone and purse were in the car.

According to family, she had a dentist appointment in Lafayette on Tuesday, and she was headed back to LSU’s campus that night, the night the crash happened.

Family members tracked Gauthier’s cell phone to a tow yard near where the car was found.

Volunteers from across South Louisiana began gathering to aid in the search for Gauthier. The United Cajun Navy joined the search as well, on April 9. The Cajun Navy ultimately made the decision to call off their efforts on April 13 due to inclement weather limiting where the group could navigate Mississippi River waters.

That same day, a body was pulled from the Mississippi River near Reserve, La. It was identified the next day as Gauthier’s.

LSU Police Chief Bart Thompson told media outlets that the LSU Police Department and Baton Rouge Police Departments, as well as other law enforcement agencies, took exhaustive measures to locate Gauthier and determine what led to her disappearance.

He concluded that no criminal activity or foul play was involved.

Though mystery surrounded her disappearance and death, family members were grateful for the closure that came with finding her, even if it wasn’t the ending they’d hoped for.

Gauthier’s uncle, Spencer Gauthier, took to social media to express his gratitude to everyone who assisted in the search for his niece.

“Not the end result that we were hoping for, but at least we have her body and can start the healing process,” Spencer Gauthier said. “For my niece, this is a tough video to make, but thanks for everything that was done, thanks for all the prayers.”

He then sent words of encouragement to those perhaps struggling or going through hard times.

“Anybody listening, boy, girl, man or woman, if you are going through anything in life get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. Life is worth living. Never give up,” Spencer Gauthier concluded by encouraging people to listen to the song “These Three Words” by Stevie Wonder.

Kori’s father spoke with News 10, also expressing his heartbreak, but gratitude that came with the ending of his daughter’s story.

“Thank you from the bottom of my, of our hearts,” Levar Gauthier told News 10.

Levar Gauthier said God granted him the one wish he had Wednesday that his daughter is received in any way to be put to rest properly.

“I’d like to thank everybody in Acadiana and the surrounding area who said any prayers, called, texts, offered anything of that nature. Just thank you. That’s all I can say,” Levar Gauthier said with a deep sigh.

The agencies and volunteer groups that were involved in the ongoing search efforts include but are not limited to LSU Police, Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Attorney General, Louisiana State Police, K9 Mercy, Southeast Louisiana Rescue/Search, Iberville Sheriff’s Office, Livingston Sheriff’s Office, St. Charles Sheriff’s Office, United Cajun Navy, WBR Sheriff’s Office, Cajun Navy 2016/Pinnacle SAR, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, EBR ABC Office, New Orleans Harbor Police, U.S. Coast Guard, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, along with other volunteer groups and individual volunteers.