It’s been more than a month since detectives with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call from Sylviane Fink Lozada’s co-worker reporting the Brusly High School teacher missing.
Since then, authorities have said foul play is a possibility and noted the teacher’s husband, Oscar Lozada, purchased buckets and concrete days before her disappearance.
Oscar Lozada has not been named a suspect in his wife’s case, but authorities say they are trying to reach him and his 4-year-old daughter.
The pair flew to Venezuela early last month and have not returned.
News organizations worldwide have produced stories about Sylviane Lozada; people have been using various social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, to share information about the 51-year-old Belgium native.
The fervor behind Sylviane Lozada’s missing-person case is not the norm, authorities say.
Most missing-person cases are solved relatively quickly, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said.
Many of the cases involve habitual runaways, she said.
Last year, the Sheriff’s Office opened more than one missing-person case a day, Hicks said. Of those 455 cases, three are still open.
In two of the open cases, Hicks said, detectives cannot reach the family members who contacted authorities about the missing people.
“Chances are, the missing people were found and the family moved,” she said.
The third open case from 2010 involves a 16-year-old girl who has run away about eight times, Hicks said.
This year, Sheriff’s Office detectives have opened 257 missing-person cases, Hicks said.
Nine of those cases are still open.
In six of the open cases, Hicks said, detectives cannot reach the family members who contacted authorities about the missing people.
In one of the remaining open cases, the missing person left a letter saying she didn’t want to continue chemotherapy, and disappeared, Hicks said.
In another one of the remaining open cases, the missing person said she was moving to South Carolina, and has not been heard from since.
The last of the remaining open missing-person cases detectives have opened this year is Sylviane Lozada’s case, Hicks said.
Authorities started looking for Lozada on July 18, when she was reported missing after her relatives in Belgium could not get in touch with her, Hicks said. Lozada’s last contact with her family was around July 5.
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.
Detectives have reason to believe Sylviane Lozada might have been inside her husband’s bright-yellow 2001 Nissan Xterra on July 5 or July 6, Hicks said.
Detectives on foot, on all-terrain vehicles and in a National Guard helicopter have searched the area near the Sylviane Lozada home, Hicks said.
They will continue to look for Lozada, and to process and search for evidence in her case, she said.
Anyone with information about Sylviane Lozada’s whereabouts or anyone who remembers seeing her husband’s bright-yellow Nissan on July 5 or July 6 is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (225) 389-5000 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at (225) 344-7867.
Kimberly Vetter covers crime for The Advocate. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.