Reward for missing teacher increases to nearly $20,000

The reward for information about the disappearance of schoolteacher Terrilyn Monette has reached nearly $20,000, thanks to donations from throughout the community.

Crimestoppers Executive Director Darlene Cusanza announced the new reward, a nearly $13,000 increase in a week, at a news conference with Monette’s family Monday. Monette has been missing for more than a month after last being seen driving near City Park.

The exact reward amount is $19,600 and Cusanza called it the largest reward in recent history for Crimestoppers. The money has been raised through anonymous donations, donations from churches, fundraisers, teachers and teacher unions, she said.

Flanked by her family, Toni Encalade, Monette’s mother, broke down in tears as she expressed her gratitude for everyone who has donated money or helped search for her missing daughter. She begged anyone with information on the disappearance to come forward, pleading with whoever is responsible for the disappearance of her daughter to please return her “baby.”

“It’s been a long five weeks, a very long time. I still haven’t heard from my baby,” said Encalade, who has been commuting from California to search. “I’m continuing to be strong; I’m continuing to have faith.”

Third District Commander John Thomas said that although authorities have received many leads, they still need more information.

“It’s the small tip that’s going to help us get this case resolved,” he said.