A badly decomposed body found Tuesday in a ditch in an Iberville Parish sugar cane field is that of a pregnant woman who’d been shot in the head, but DNA test results will be needed to identify the remains, the East Baton Rouge coroner said Wednesday.
Sugar cane workers discovered the body in a field just outside of Rosedale, near where law enforcement had searched last week for Lyntell Washington, a missing 40-year-old Baton Rouge school administrator.
An autopsy on the body Wednesday afternoon revealed the adult female had been shot in the head and was pregnant, said Dr. William “Beau” Clark, the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner.
Baton Rouge police have said the woman was seven months pregnant. The child died at the time of the mother’s death, but did not have signs of separate trauma, Clark said.
He said a DNA analysis is underway at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab but he wasn’t sure how long it will take for the results. In the past, State Crime Lab officials have said processing DNA evidence generally takes 30 to 60 days but priority cases can be processed much more quickly.
The search for Washington began Thursday after her 3-year-old daughter was found wandering alone in a parking lot near her mother’s abandoned car in Baton Rouge. Blood was found inside the vehicle.
The next day, Baton Rouge Police arrested Robert Marks, a 39-year-old assistant principal at the Baton Rouge school where Washington worked. Marks was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail on counts of aggravated kidnapping and desertion of the child.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Tuesday that Marks likely would face charges of first- or second-degree murder, as well as feticide, if the evidence ultimately concludes he is responsible for Washington’s death.
“The investigation into this crime will continue,” Moore said Tuesday.
Marks is accused of driving Washington’s child around Wednesday night and leaving the girl before she was discovered alone Thursday morning in a parking lot. He’s being held without bail at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Marks, who is married to another woman, and Washington were believed to have been romantically involved, police have said.
They both worked at Brookstown Magnet Honors Academy, a middle school, although Marks was put on administrative leave after his arrest.