Today NOPD detectives and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies located the car that belonged to a Northshore teenager in Irish Bayou. The body of a woman, believed to be 19-year-old Hayley Howard, was inside the vehicle. An autopsy performed by the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office will confirm the identity.
NOPD’s Third District Investigations Unit had been searching with St. Tammany deputies since Hayley was reported missing by her father at about 4pm on March 1st. At the time, Hayley had neither been seen nor heard from since about 2am that morning. A friend of hers said Hayley had left the University of New Orleans’ campus at that time, was planning to stop and thank a couple of people who had helped her earlier with a flat tire, and then intended to head to a party to meet up with friends in Slidell. She never arrived at the party, and she also didn’t return to her residence in Slidell.
Detectives pinged Hayley’s cell phone, and the results indicated that the phone was somewhere in the Irish Bayou area. A search and rescue team was assembled, and investigators disseminated a boat unit, helicopters and ground units in both New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish. All searches met with negative results. As the investigation continued today, additional technical information led detectives to a section of Irish Bayou on I-10 East. The silver Toyota Corolla with the license plate registered to Hayley was located this afternoon in that area by NOPD and St. Tammany detectives.
A preliminary investigation indicates that Hayley was travelling in her vehicle on I-10 East, veered off the road to the right, and the vehicle then entered the water and became submerged. At this time, this case is being investigated as a fatal accident.
“It’s always devastating when such a young life is lost. I have three children myself, and I can’t imagine what Ms. Howard’s parents are going through. I assured them that this Department is here to assist them in any way they may need”, said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
“I appreciate the hard work of our detectives in this case, as well as the extraordinary assistance of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office”.
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Contact: Remi Braden