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Searching New Orleans: Where is Terrilynn Monette?

  • NEW: Reward grows to to $5,500
  • California teacher went missing in early March
  • Monette's mother: 'Where is the car???'

On Friday, throngs of volunteers continued to put the word out on social media amid the New Orleans police investigation into the disappearance of Terrilynn Monette, a 26-year-old Teacher of the Year nominee who went missing more than a week ago.

The reward for information on her whereabouts was increased this week to $5,500, HLN affiliate WDSU reports.

Supporters gathered last week for a prayer vigil outside the bar where Monette was last seen, according to local news reports.

Co-workers, neighbors, Monette's sorority sisters and just plain do-gooders have formed a circle of support around Toni Enclade, the California mother who flew in from California and has tearfully pleaded on TV for the safe return of her daughter.

On Thursday, Enclade told the crowd that lingering questions continued to haunt her.  "I understand they're working on it, but where is the car?" the Times Picayune reported. "Where is the car? That just baffles me. At this point in time, all I can do is stay strong and keep the faith that my baby's going to be found."

Even some of Monette's pupils at Woodland West Elementary have joined the effort. A photo of a second-grader holding up a placard that reads "Please help find my teacher," circulated on Internet forums this week.

"The family had stressed that they really, really wanted shirts," Melissa Meza, a fellow teacher, told HLN affiliate WWL. "So, I got in touch with my husband and, being that we're part of the family, too, we thought it would be fitting for us to have them as well."

Read more: Caylee Anthony searchers look for Terrilynn Monette

Monette's mother told officers that the teacher went to the bar at about 3:30 a.m. with a few acquaintances "and was last seen sleeping in her vehicle in the rear parking lot," police said last week. "Monette allegedly told her acquaintances that she was going to sleep in her car before driving home due to having consumed alcoholic beverages."

"I am just so filled with joy right now that so many people in the city care so much to come out and try to find one of our co-workers, one of our family members," Kristen Burke, also a teacher at Woodland West, told WWL.

Thursday's search centered on Bayou St. John, according to CNN's Nick Valencia, who is reporting from New Orleans. Equusearch, a group involved in several high-profile cases, including the search for Natalee Holloway and, more recently, Caylee Anthony, mobilized its sonar equipment to look in New Orleans' murky waterways, but after a week the team suspended its efforts, saying that it had searched where it could.

How you can help: Terrilynn Monette is described as an African-American female, approximately 5'8" tall, weighing 180 pounds and having a light complexion with long brown hair. She was last seen driving a 2012 black two-door Honda Accord with Louisiana license plate WUN494. If you have any information, please contact the New Orleans Police Department at (504) 821-2222 or Texas EquuSearch at (281) 309-9500.

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