Husband of missing teacher says wife left him for another man — sheriff, friends not so sure
The husband of a Brusly High School teacher reported missing more than a year ago told authorities that his wife fled to Colombia to be with another man, court documents say.
Oscar Lozada called investigators with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office on July 21, 2011, three days after his wife, Sylviane Lozada, was reported missing, an application for a search warrant says.
During his conversation with investigators, Oscar Lozada said his wife left him on either July 5 or July 6 of 2011, and that she went to Colombia — without her passport — to be with another man, the application says.
He told investigators that he and his then 4-year-old daughter were in Colombia trying to find Sylviane Lozada, the application says.
Investigators confirmed through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the father and daughter flew from Dallas to Venezuela on July 9, the application says. They were scheduled to return July 14, but have not come back.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said investigators “do not have any information” that Sylviane Lozada left the United States. The sheriff would not say whether investigators have been able to determine if Oscar Lozada went to Colombia to look for his wife.
The sheriff also would not say whether investigators have been in touch with Oscar Lozada.
“We aren’t going to comment further since it is an ongoing, active investigation,” he said.
Gautreaux has been mum on many details of the missing person case since saying more than a year ago that evidence obtained from Oscar and Sylviane Lozada’s former home at 2234 Springlake Drive suggests foul play.
According to the application for search warrant, deputies were called to the residence on July 18 “in reference to the disappearance of a family.”
When deputies arrived, the home was unlocked and almost nothing was inside, the application says. One of the only things deputies found was a roll of plastic sheeting, the application says.
Detectives also discovered that shortly after Sylviane Lozada’s disappearance, Oscar Lozada purchased multiple gray 5-gallon buckets with lids and yellow-and-black bags of Quikrete concrete mix, authorities have said. The buckets and bags of concrete mix have not been found.
Karen Wooley, Sylviane Lozada’s friend and colleague, said she went by the Springlake Drive residence around the time her friend was reported missing.
Nothing was inside, she said, but there were some items in the garage, including two or three disposable, cloth jumpsuits.
Wooley said she didn’t think much of the jumpsuits until she learned about the buckets and bags of concrete mix.
“Something just doesn’t add up,” she said.
Gautreaux said Oscar Lozada has not been named a suspect in his wife’s disappearance and that the Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the whereabouts of Sylviane Lozada as a missing person case.
The sheriff said he could not elevate the case to a homicide “without hard evidence” that Sylviane Lozada is not alive.
“I do have a hard time believing that she would leave her daughter, friends and family without any contact, though,” he said.
Wooley and countless other friends and colleagues have said the same during the past year and couple of months.
“She was so involved in her daughter’s life,” said Rachel Martin, a friend of the Lozadas. “She would have never left her.”
Martin said she and her husband met the Lozadas six years ago when they moved into the Springlake Subdivision off Bluebonnet Boulevard. The couples have children the same age and spent a fair amount of time together.
Despite sheriff’s records that show a history of domestic abuse between Oscar and Sylviane Lozada, Martin said she never noticed anything unusual.
“But I didn’t know them like that,” she said. “We didn’t talk about their marriage.”
Martin said she was surprised to learn about Sylviane Lozada’s disappearance. Martin said her husband mowed the Lozadas’ lawn for months after they abandoned the residence.
No one other than Sylviane Lozada’s family, who flew in once from Belgium, has come by the house, which has been on the market for more than a month.
“I’m glad it’s up for sale,” Martin said. “It was depressing pulling out of my driveway and seeing weeds in front of the house where they once lived.”
Records with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court show the home Oscar and Sylviane Lozada bought in 2006 was seized on Feb. 15 after the couple stopped making payments to their mortgage company on Aug. 1, 2011. The house was sold at a sheriff’s auction in July and is now on the market, listed by Exit Realty Group.
Messages left for the listing agent as well as the man who bought the home in July at the sheriff’s auction were not returned.
Saiward Pharr Hromadka, communications directors with the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, said Realtors are not obligated by law to disclose to potential buyers that foul play might have occurred inside the Lozada’s former home. But Hromadka said Realtors are advised to disclose such information as a matter of good practice.
“Our agents generally go with disclosure,” she said.
Wooley said the fact that Sylviane and Oscar Lozada’s house is up for sale is not a good sign.
Both of them worked hard to make a life for themselves and their daughter in the United States.
“It’s not like them to just walk away,” she said.
Business writer Chad Calder contributed to this report.