Woman’s body found in Mississippi River in St. James Parish

An unidentified woman’s body was found Thursday morning in the Mississippi River at the Convent Marine Terminal, authorities said.

St. James Parish sheriff’s deputies searched missing persons reports but by late Thursday afternoon had not learned her identity.

Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. said deputies were called about 8 a.m. Thursday about the body floating amid barges at the riverside terminal along River Road.

Martin said Convent Marine officials used one of their cranes, with a basket attached to the end, to lift the woman’s body out of the water about 15 minutes after deputies were called to the scene.

Martin said deputies have been checking missing persons reports out of West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge parishes and Arkansas, where authorities found the vehicle of a person who may have jumped off a bridge.

The U.S. Coast Guard office in New Orleans also reported Thursday that West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies searched Wednesday for someone who may have jumped off a bridge into the river.

Martin said the woman was white and probably in her 40s.

He said she had no identification and no apparent signs of trauma, though deputies are treating the incident as a possible homicide.

Martin said an autopsy was completed Thursday afternoon but said he would not be releasing the cause of death at this time.

Martin said the woman’s body did not appear to show signs that it had been in the water a long time but he cautioned that cold water temperatures in the river could affect the body’s condition.

The Convent Marine facility is a former bulk commodities terminal owned by Canadian National Railway Co.

Raven Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Foresight Energy and the Cline Group, bought the terminal in 2011 for $73 million to ship coal from Foresight’s Illinois mines to international markets, Foresight and CN websites say.