NATCHITOCHES WOMAN MISSING 28 YEARS FOUND IN SOUTH END OF CANE RIVER; REMAINS EXTRACTED FROM SUBMERGED VEHICLE

NATCHITOCHES-Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies with the assistance of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit Dive Team have recovered the remains and vehicle of a Natchitoches woman reported missing 28 years ago according to Natchitoches Parish Stuart Wright.

On November 3, 1993, 40-year-old Kara E. Vaugh of Natchitoches was reported missing to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Family members reported Kara, a diabetic, left their Point Place home between 8:00 and 9:00pm during the evening of November 3, 1993 in a white 1978 Honda Civic without her medication and less than $10 dollars in cash.
Kara never returned home leaving her family concerned. She left home that evening upset and previously stated “she would drive her vehicle in Cane River and never be found.”

Cane River runs along the Point Place area for approximately 30 miles.
Natchitoches Sheriff’s detectives began an investigation into Kara’s disappearance interviewing her family and several close friends back in 1993 according to a large investigative case file but were unable to develop any leads of her whereabouts.

Some friends believed that she may have traveled to California.

Detectives entered Kara and her vehicle into the National Crime Information Center as a missing person.
DNA Profiles were collected from family members and provided to the LSU FACES Lab in Baton Rouge which also manages the Louisiana Repository for Unidentified and Missing Persons Information Project.

Detectives continued the investigation attempting to gather information.
Missing Person reports were issued to law enforcement and media outlets for assistance.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies searched Cane River multiple times but were unable to find and identify any sources of the vehicle being in Cane River.

In 2007, East Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office with special sonar equipment joined NPSO deputies again and searched Cane River for clues but were unable to find any.

The case remained open.

Retired detectives investigated the case, saying, these are the type of cases that remain on your mind because you want to give the family of loved ones answers.

In January of 2021, NPSO Deputies recovered a vehicle in Cane River after a fisherman spotted it submerged in Cane River.

Detectives are still attempting to identify who the owner of that vehicle is , but it is unrelated to this current case.
During February 2021, NPSO deputies again were notified by a fisherman of a possible vehicle submerged in Cane River, approximately 1.2 north of the Shell Beach Bridge or close to the 1300 block of Bermuda Road.
Bermuda Road runs parallel to Cane River south of Natchitoches.

NPSO dive team members waited for weather conditions to improve.

On Friday March 12, NPSO dive members entered Cane River near the provided point of location.
Divers located what they believed to be a small vehicle submerged in approximately 10-12 feet of water.

Major Doug Rachal contacted Lt. Ron Johnson with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and Dive Team to assist in the examination and recovery of the submerged vehicle.

On Monday morning March 15, Calcasieu Sheriff’s Divers traveled to Natchitoches to assist in the vehicle recovery.
Divers entered the water at approximately 10am, finding what appeared to be a Honda Civic with all windows rolled up submerged.

Divers were able to enter the vehicle discovering human skeleton remains inside the vehicle.
An identification card and photograph of Kara Vaugh and other documents were found inside the vehicle in surprisingly legible condition.

Divers then began the process of methodically extracting the remains from the vehicle with dignity bringing them to shore for evidence collection.

The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office responded to the scene.

The remains presumed to be that of Kara E. Vaugh, will be transported to the LSU FACES Lab in Baton Rouge for dental record and DNA comparison for a positive identification.

The process then shifted to extracting the vehicle from the water.
Calcasieu deputies equipped with special flotation bags placed the bags under the vehicle, then inflated them to raise it to the surface.

Deputies were concerned with the condition of the vehicle therefore flotation devices were used to safely remove it for evidence.

Deputies were then able to tow the flotation bags and vehicle to a boat ramp approximately a quarter mile south of the scene to remove the vehicle and transport it to an undisclosed location for evidence.

Sheriff Stuart Wright spoke with former CNN Headline News Anchor Lyn Vaughn (the sister of Kara Vaughn) on Tuesday morning and extended his condolences to the Vaughn family.

“Unfortunately the outcome did not come out as we expected for Kara but at least the family has some closure now” said Sheriff Wright.

Kara’s mother passed away back in 2012.

Major Doug Rachal, said sonar equipment technology equipment is rapidly changing and improving from day to day.
Sheriff Wright extends his thanks and appreciation to Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso, Lt. Ron Johnson, the CPSO Dive Team, NPSO Dive Team and all that took part and assisted in Monday’s recovery operation.

We also thank the anonymous fisherman who saw something suspicious and said something to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office that led to what we believe is the recovery of Kara Vaughn and closure of a 28 year cold missing persons case in Natchitoches Parish.

Members of the Cane River Waterway Commission were also on scene.


2 thoughts on “NATCHITOCHES WOMAN MISSING 28 YEARS FOUND IN SOUTH END OF CANE RIVER; REMAINS EXTRACTED FROM SUBMERGED VEHICLE

  1. The parish may want to hire fishermen. It seems they have a better eye for sunken cars than the experts!

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