LONG BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) — Hundreds of people gathered to remember 26-year-old teacher Terrilynn Monette at a memorial service on Sunday in Long Beach.
The service was held at Monette’s alma matter, Wilson Classical High School.
Family and friends paid tribute to the Long Beach native, who had moved to New Orleans to teach, by sharing stories of love and joy.
“Her charm, her kindness, her courage and of course her smile are the things the world will always remember about our sister Terrilyn,” brother Brandon Monette said.
Terrilyn’s black Honda Accord was pulled from New Orleans’ Bayou St. John on June 8, and her decomposed body was inside, police said.
She was identified using dental records, police said in a statement.
The death was ruled a drowning, and there were no signs of trauma to the body, according to the coroner’s office. Toxicology results were still pending.
Terrilyn was last seen on March 2 leaving Parlay’s Dream Lounge in New Orleans, where she had been celebrating being nominated for a “Teacher of the Year” award.
She had been drinking, and told friends who were at the bar with her that she planned to sleep in her car for a while before driving home.
After she disappeared, concerned friends and relatives put up missing posters around New Orleans, hoping to get clues as to what may have happened to her.
A diver with the Slidell Police Department who was volunteering to dive the waterways in the search for Monette found her car.
Authorities had focused their search on the waterways because she would have had to drive across the bayou to get home.
Monette had moved to New Orleans for the “teachNOLA” program. It sends educators to New Orleans to teach in impoverished areas.