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No answers in disappearance of New Orleans teacher

By Vivian Kuo, CNN
updated 3:11 AM EDT, Wed March 13, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Terrilynn Monette was last seen 11 days ago at a bar in New Orleans' Lakeview area
  • Friends: She was celebrating "Teacher of the Year" nomination when she vanished
  • Principal: "She is very loving with her students. They are a family"
  • Mom: "I just want my baby back. I just want her home"

(CNN) -- As hundreds of volunteers and police scoured parks and waterways in an area of New Orleans Tuesday, there were many questions but few answers about the disappearance 11 days ago of a 26-year-old teacher.

Terrilynn Monette had been out celebrating a recent nomination for a "Teacher of the Year" award in her district the night she vanished, her friends told CNN affiliate WWL.

New Orleans police said Monette was last seen on March 2 at Parlay's, a bar in the Lakeview area of New Orleans.

One of the bartenders working that night had to "cut off" Monette, indicating the bartender felt she had too much to drink and that she should no longer be served, the nightclub's general manager, Anna Boudousque, said.

Terrilynn Monette
Terrilynn Monette

According to police, Monette told her acquaintances she was going to sleep in her car before driving home "due to having consumed alcoholic beverages."

She was seen talking to an unidentified man in the parking lot around 4 a.m. police said, adding that the man has been interviewed and is not now considered a suspect in the disappearance.

Since then, both Monette and her 2012 black Honda Accord have vanished.

Police say they have no suspects in the case and are reviewing surveillance tape from local businesses to try to track down any clues.

"We have received tips, and we are following up," New Orleans police officer Hilal Williams said.

On Sunday, Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies used magnets and grappling hooks to search a local bayou that would be on the way from the bar to Monette's home but found no sign of the missing woman or her car.

"During that time (since the disappearance), we didn't have much wet rain, so it would be kind of hard to see signs that she drove her car off the road," Williams said.

Monette's mother, Toni Enclade, said she and her daughter speak every day, and it's extremely uncharacteristic for Monette to drop out of sight.

"She walks in the room, she lights it up with her beautiful smile. I can't imagine anyone who would take her away from us," Enclade said.

Monette, originally from California, teaches second grade at Woodland West Elementary School. Principal Amy Hoyle said Monette came to the school last October and turned one of the lowest-performing classes into one that became the highest-achieving.

"She is wonderful; she is vibrant. She is determined. She holds her students to the highest of expectations," Hoyle said. "She is very loving with her students. They are a family."

Enclade said her daughter's disappearance has caused a gaping void in her life.

"No one can understand how I feel right now," Enclade said. "I just want my baby back. I want her home. I want her home."

CNN's Nick Valencia and Tristan Smith contributed to this report.

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