Body found floating in Mississippi River

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 9, 2009



LAPLACE – St. John Parish Sheriff’s detectives recovered the body of a Reserve woman from the Mississippi River Tuesday evening a day after a river worker found a stash of her belongings near the ferry landing.

Capt. Dane Clement, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, said the body was spotted around 5 p.m. floating in the water about an eighth of a mile downriver from the Reserve ferry landing. He said a preliminary autopsy report identified the woman as 41-year-old Claire Chenier, who was reported missing late Monday evening.

Clement said deputies received a call around 3 p.m. Monday from a river worker who had found a sweatshirt, keys and a purse containing cash and identification cards with Chenier’s name sitting on the bank of the river near the ferry landing. He said the property appeared undisturbed.

Chenier’s name was entered into a national crime database as a missing person Monday evening after deputies were unsuccessful in locating her, Clement said. He said Chenier’s parents had not seen or heard from their daughter since Sunday, when she visited their home. Chenier lived alone at a home along Riverside Drive in Reserve.

The autopsy report indicated Chenier’s cause of death was asphyxiation by drowning.

There was no sign of trauma to the body, and Clement said detectives have no evidence of foul play or criminal activity. 

Clement said the investigation surrounding the discovery will remain open until the full autopsy report is complete.