Body pulled from Hancock Co. river confirmed to be missing La. woman
HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Authorities have now confirmed the body pulled from the water just off Interstate 10 on Friday was that of a missing Louisiana woman.
Coroner Derek Turnage confirmed to WLOX that evidence at the scene points to the body recovered as that of Courtney Johnson. She and her car were found submerged just off I-10 in Hancock County. Turnage also said an autopsy will be done Monday to confirm the cause of death.
According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Johnson traveled off the roadway to the left and entered the water. The car was then carried by the water current under the interstate through a large box culvert and came to a final rest underwater on the right side of the roadway.
Friends and family say the 34-year-old mom was headed to Biloxi to meet up with friends. When she never checked into her hotel, those who knew her best knew something was wrong. Their last contact with her was around 6 p.m. on June 22. At that time, she informed a friend that she was traveling east on I-12 in the Madisonville, La. area.
Investigators from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department Friday morning. Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said the auto locator on Johnson’s car shows her last reported location as being just off I-10 near mile marker 2.
A search of the flooded area quickly ensued as Johnson’s family gathered nearby. After hours of searching, a car was finally located and carefully pulled from the water.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol is handling the investigation into the fatal crash. At this time, no foul play is suspected.
“My thoughts and prayers go out the family and friends of Courtney during this difficult time,” St. Tammany Sheriff Randy Smith said.
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