The search for missing University of New Orleans student Hayley Howard has reached its fourth day Tuesday, with volunteers both on the ground and on social media spreading the word about the 19-year-old’s disappearance.
Howard, who was just recently accepted into pharmacy school at Xavier University in Louisiana, was last seen Saturday around 1:50 a.m., when she left the UNO campus to head for her family’s home in Slidell, La., New Orleans television station WDSU reported. The news outlet said the 19-year-old UNO student had a flat tire that was fixed by a group of people before she disappeared. According to Lafayette, La., television station KATC, Howard was intoxicated during the drive.
“I was told by her boyfriend, the last person to speak with her, ‘They were nice people a group of nice people. Helped me change the tire,’ she said. She wanted to go. Apparently she had left the area and wanted to go back and thank them and pay them,” the missing teen’s father, James Howard, told WDSU.
Since Hayley Howard’s disappearance, family, friends and volunteers have been conducting searches in hopes of finding the missing UNO student.
“We've separated the city into about eight different segments and we've been dispatching people to put fliers up in different segments," friend and volunteer Elizabeth Gelvin told New Orleans television station WWLTV.
Friend Daniel Lemonier told the station that Hayley Howard left Slidell on Friday morning to go to classes at UNO and planned on then going to work. "She was supposed to come to Slidell after she got off of work and meet up with us, but she ended up going with some co-workers and here we are," Lemonier said.
A social media campaign, “Help Find Hayley Howard,” was set up on Facebook. The group posts pictures of the 19-year-old along with her description: 5-foot-3-inches tall, 130 pounds, Caucasian/Hispanic with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black dress and black shoes.
“If anyone attends UNO or has friends who attend UNO PLEASE READ THIS. If anyone witnessed a young brunette girl getting help with a flat tire on Friday night near UNO campus around 2:00 - 3:00 am PLEASE COME FORWARD IMMEDIATELY. The tiniest detail can help. Contact the police immediately,” the group posted early Tuesday morning.
Hayley Howard’s mother, Cindy Howard, also made an appeal for anyone with information on her daughter’s disappearance to come forward.
"If you helped anybody on that day change a tire in any area around here, please, please call the authorities," she said. "We would appreciate it. We're wanting to find our daughter safe and sound."
Deputies with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office are also working on Hayley Howard’s case, Sheriff Jack Strain told WWLTV.
“We have investigators working in New Orleans right now," Strain said. "They're actually walking areas to see if there's any signs of a vehicle entering the water, interviewing people who may have seen Hayley around UNO, pulling video, private sector video on both sides of the lake,” he said, referring to Lake Pontchartrain.