Authorities believe they may have extracted the remains of Kara Enid Vaughn from Cane River Lake. “Her family may finally get closure after 28 years,” said Capt. Tony Moran, spokesperson for the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
In November of 1993, Vaughn, 40 at the time of her disappearance, left home in a white 1978 Honda Civic with less than $10 on her person. It was reported at the time she was a diabetic and was off her medication.
A search was conducted to no avail.
In 2007, dive teams from East Baton Rouge searched after receiving information Vaughn had allegedly made threats prior to her disappearance that she planned to drive her car into the river where she would never be found. Divers were unable to locate Vaughn or her car at that time.
In February of this year, fishermen notified the sheriff’s department of what they believed to be a car in Cane River just south of Pratt’s Bridge. Note that this is a separate incident from the car that was retrieved from a nearby location in January of this year.
The information on the current find came during the winter storm. Moran said law enforcement waited for the weather to cooperate, then conducted a search last Friday in an area of Cane River Lake that is approximately 10-12 feet deep.
Calcasieu Parish has specialized sonar for such searches. Maj. Doug Rachal contacted their marine unit for assistance.
This morning at approximately 10 a.m., Calcasieu Parish divers, along with the NPSO dive team, made entry to the submerged vehicle that still had all windows rolled up. Divers located human remains inside the car along with an identification card and other documents that linked the remains to Vaughn. Moran said the ID and documents were “surprisingly well preserved after being submerged 28 years. At this time it is presumed the remains are those of Ms. Vaughn.”
Moran said her next of kin, her sister, has been notified. Her parents are deceased. Sheriff Stuart Wright spoke with Vaughn’s sister this morning and extended his condolences to the Vaughn family.
The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office will remit the remains to the LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) Laboratory for DNA and dental identification.
All parties remain on scene at this time. Sheriff Wright also extends his thanks and appreciation to Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso and his dive team for their assistance in today’s operation.
“We also thank the fisherman who saw something suspicious and said something to the NPSO. That led to closure in the case,” said Sheriff Wright.
Photos by Hannah Richardson