Search effort underway for missing LSU student whose car was found on Mississippi River bridge

Authorities and volunteers are searching for a missing Louisiana State University student whose car was found abandoned on a Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge earlier this week.

Kori Gauthier, an 18-year-old freshman at LSU, was last seen Tuesday, her family said.

Officers found her car after midnight Thursday on the eastbound side of the Horace Wilkinson Bridge on Interstate 10 after someone crashed into it, police said. Her car was left unoccupied on the bridge, which is about 2 miles from the university campus, for at least an hour before the crash, Baton Rouge ABC affiliate WBRZ reported.

Her father said he doesn’t believe his daughter died by suicide and said she loved college, was moving into a new apartment and was very close to her family.

“It is very far-fetched for me to think that for some reason my daughter just slammed on her brakes, walked out of her car and went off the side of a bridge. No, not believing that,” he told ABC News.

Those who knew Kori spoke of the joy she brought to her family and friends.

“She’s a fun-loving girl. Loves being a college student,” Levar Gauthier told WBRZ. “I hope and pray that she’s just somewhere injured, and just, it’s taking us a while to get to her, so she can live her dream and graduate from LSU and become a teacher and open her own dance studio.”

“If you find her, just bring her home so we can make that a reality,” he added.

The LSU Police Department is investigating Kori Gauthier’s disappearance.

“We want to assure the LSU community that the search for missing LSU student Kori Gauthier continues in cooperation with law enforcement officials and volunteers throughout the region,” the university tweeted Saturday. “LSU Police Department is in contact with Kori’s parents and keeping them updated and informed throughout, including sharing details that, out of respect for the family’s privacy and to protect the integrity of the investigation, are not being shared with the general public.”

PHOTO: A missing person flyer circulated on Twitter shows missing LSU student Kori Gauthier.

As of Saturday evening, the LSU Police Department did not have an update on the case, a spokesperson told ABC News.

Adania Daughtry, who was Kori’s roommate in the fall and helped find her car, was among the many out searching on Saturday.

“Kori was an angel. She kept me balanced. I was blessed to meet her, for her to be my roommate,” she told ABC News. “We didn’t know each other before the fall, but she was an amazing person.”

Spencer Gauthier is offering a $10,000 reward “to anyone that leads her home.”

Kori Gauthier is 5-foot-5, weighs between 115 and 120 pounds and has dark brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact LSU Police at 225-578-3231.

ABC News’ Elwyn Lopez, Nam Cho and Mark Osborne contributed to this report.

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