Baton Rouge police remained hopeful Monday that tips from the public might lead them to a missing woman, though several days have passed since her 3-year-old daughter was found wandering alone in a parking lot near her mother’s blood-splattered car.
An extensive search Friday of swamps and forests near Ramah in rural Iberville Parish yielded no sign of Lyntell Washington, a 40-year-old Baton Rouge school administrator who hasn’t been seen since police discovered her daughter and her car Thursday morning.
Law enforcement agencies, led by Baton Rouge Police, haven’t returned in force to the Atchafalaya Basin since calling off the search Friday. But investigators are still actively following leads in the case, including tips phoned in by the public, and are holding out hope of possibly finding Washington alive, said Sgt. Don Coppola, a Baton Rouge police spokesman.
Robert Marks, a 39-year-old assistant principal at the Baton Rouge school where Washington worked, was arrested Friday on counts of aggravated kidnapping and desertion of the child. Marks, who is married but is believed to have been in a relationship with Washington, isn’t cooperating with police, Coppola said.
Marks has been placed on administrative leave from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system in the wake of his arrest, said Adonica Duggan, spokeswoman for the district. He remained in Parish Prison as of Monday night.
Cellphone records from Marks’ and Washington’s phones led police to search the Ramah area Friday. According to a Baton Rouge police report, those records indicated both of their phones were in Ramah at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday and remained there for 15 minutes before returning to Baton Rouge. The records show Marks then traveled to the Newcastle Avenue area.
Detectives are looking into every tip received by police, Coppola said, and are ready to deploy manpower in a renewed search if credible information points to a new search area.
“No call or tip goes unnoticed,” Coppola said. “This is something we’re taking very seriously. We hope she’s alive and well and we can reunite her with her little girl and the rest of her family.”
Coppola said police are asking hunters, fishermen and hikers in the Ramah area and elsewhere to report anything out of the ordinary. Anyone who might have information about the case or Washington’s whereabouts, Coppola said, is also asked to contact the Police Department.
Police ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867 or the Police Department’s missing persons unit at (225) 389-8617.
Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.