Foul play is a possibility in the case of a missing Brusly High School teacher who has not been seen or heard from in more than two weeks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said Monday.
Physical evidence obtained from Sylviane Finck Lozada’s home at 2234 Springlake Drive supports possible foul play in the case of the 51-year-old Belgian woman reported missing July 18, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokesman for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Hicks would not say what physical evidence was found at the couple’s home.
In addition, detectives found Lozada’s husband, Oscar Lozada, 36, on or about July 6 purchased multiple gray five-gallon buckets with lids and multiple yellow and black bags of Quickcrete concrete mix, Hicks said.
The buckets and bags of concrete mix have not been found, she said.
Hicks said Oscar Lozada has not been named a suspect in his wife’s disappearance.
“This is discouraging, shocking and tragic,” said Richard Taylor, who works with Sylviane Lozada, a foreign language teacher at Brusly High. “This would be a tremendous loss. Sylviane is an incredible woman.”
Sylviane Lozada was reported missing after her relatives in Belgium could not get in touch with her, Hicks said. Lozada regularly contacted her family.
Sylviane Lozada’s last contact with her family was around July 5, not July 11 as was previously reported, Hicks said.
Oscar Lozada, and the couple’s daughter boarded a plane in Dallas destined for Venezuela on July 9, Hicks said. They were scheduled to return July 14, but they have not returned, she said.
When asked about the possibility of extraditing Oscar Lozada back to Louisiana from Venezuela, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said an arrest warrant would first have to be filed against Lozada.
Federal charges must also be filed in order for the U.S. Marshal’s Office and the U.S. Department of State to begin working on the extradition process, Moore said.
During the past week, detectives have been unable to contact Oscar Lozada, Hicks said. However, detectives have communicated with him since Sylviane Lozada was reported missing, she said.
Detectives have reason to believe Sylviane Lozada might have occupied her husband’s bright-yellow, 2001 Nissan Xterra on July 5 or 6, Hicks said.
Hicks said Sylviane Lozada would not have been driving the vehicle, but Hicks was unsure where she might have been in the vehicle.
The sports utility vehicle was found July 24 at the Prairieville home of a family friend, she said.
Law enforcement officials searched the area around Sylviane and Oscar Lozada’s house on Friday for possible clues to the woman’s disappearance, Hicks said. The home appeared deserted with furniture and belongings moved out of it.
Authorities have found the furniture, but Hicks would not say where it was found or why it was removed from the home.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said last week he is “very concerned” for the well-being of Sylviane Lozada.
Sylviane Lozada’s friend and colleague Karen Wooley said Monday multiple suspicious factors led her to believe weeks ago that something criminal led to the disappearance of her friend.
“The people who are involved in this, who have a heartfelt interest, just know,” Wooley said. “Not calling her family, the empty house — that’s just not her behavior. It all adds up to foul play.”
Wooley said Oscar Lozada’s behavior is unusual, especially since he hasn’t returned to Baton Rouge even though his wife has disappeared.
“Obviously if your wife is in danger, and you do not return to see what is going on, that raises a flag,” Wooley said.
Wooley said Sylviane and Oscar Lozada met about seven years ago when they lived in the same apartment complex.
They married in May 2006, and their daughter was born in September of that year, Wooley said.
Wooley said Oscar Lozada, who is from Venezuela and has dual citizenship in the United States, and Sylviane Lozada had cultural differences that slowly caused their relationship to dissolve.
“What really got in there was different family backgrounds,” she said. “When it started and when she started to voice more of a concern, I can’t say, but it wasn’t recent.”
Sheriff’s Office records show the relationship between Sylviane and Oscar Lozada had been strained in the past.
Seven months ago, the Sheriff’s Office was contacted twice about arguments between Sylviane Lozada and Oscar Lozada, Hicks said.
On Dec. 3, Sylviane Lozada contacted authorities because her husband was throwing things during an argument and she wanted him to leave, Hicks said.
When deputies arrived at the couple’s home on Springlake Drive, neither Sylviane Lozada nor Oscar Lozada wanted to leave the residence, but agreed to “separate for the night,” Hicks said.
On Dec. 31, Hicks said, deputies were called to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center after Sylviane Lozada told medical personnel her husband pushed her down during an argument.
When she fell, she hit a counter that left a bruise, Hicks said.
Sylviane Lozada did not want to file charges against her husband, Hicks said, and signed a drop charges form.
Wooley said the response from the community to Sylviane Lozada’s disappearance has been “emotional,” with many people reaching out to offer help in any way possible.
“She’s touched the hearts of so many,” Wooley said. “She’s special to a lot of people. She’s not one you can forget.”
Brusly High School teachers plan to gather for a faculty-only prayer service Tuesday in remembrance of their missing colleague. A community-wide prayer service is planned for Aug. 8 at the high school.
A Facebook page titled “Help Locate Sylviane Finck, Oscar and Angelina Lozada” has been created.
She’s also listed on other missing person’s websites, including www.helpfindthemissing.org.
Co-workers and friends of Sylviane Lozada also set up a fund to help the missing woman’s family in Belgium with travel or legal expenses. Donations may be made to the Sylviane Finck Lozada fund at any American Gateway Bank location or by calling the bank at (225) 387-0011.
Two videos of Sylviane Lozada talking about teaching can be viewed at http://www.wbrschools.net/nationalboard/nationalboard2.htm. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see Sylviane talking about teaching world languages other than English.
Lozada is about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. She has brown hair and green eyes.
Anyone with information about Sylviane Lozada’s whereabouts or anyone who remembers seeing her husband’s bright-yellow, 2001 Nissan Xterra on July 5 or 6 is asked to contact the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office at (225) 389-5000 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at (225) 344-7867.