Missing since November 24, 1956 from near Laplace, St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Audrey Moate was last seen at Frenier Beach, near Laplace, Louisiana on November 24, 1956.
In the morning of November 24, 1956 a hunter and his son, were hunting in the woods along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, when they saw a blue four sedan parked five yards from the water. They spotted a man and a woman in the backseat. 3 hours later, another hunter noticed the sedan, with a man in a strange position in the back seat. The hunter did not stop to investigate. At 10.30 the next day, the first hunters came across the car in the same position, and found the man they had surprised the day before shot dead in the car. The woman was nowhere to be seen. On the ground were the partial contents of a woman's purse; female clothing and shoes were found on the floor of the car. The car keys were still in the ignition.
The man was identified as Thomas Hotard, 46. There was a small hole in the rear window of the car, indicating that a shotgun was pressed against the glass when it was fired. Hotard had been shot in the back. Leading from the car, toward the woods were prints of bare feet, small enough to be a woman's. The prints were spaced far apart, indicating the woman had been running. Mingled with these were the tracks of a man's boots. Five feet away from the scene of the crime, was a place where it looked like a scuffle had taken place, on the ground another set of car keys were found. The footprints ended at a road that leads to the main highway, and there investigators found a single tire track, possibly from a motorcycle. There were no other physical evidence.
10 hours after the initial discovery, Investigators found out that the woman who had been in the car was divorced mother of three, Audrey Moate, from Baton Rouge. She has not been seen since.
At the time Audrey Moate worked as a clerk with the Kaiser Construction Company in Gramercy. She was described as an independent woman, ahead of her time, being a single parent in 1956. Hotard and Audrey had been good friends, and romantically involved for two years, even though Hotard was married. They reportedly met every Saturday at the same time and place, telling their families, who thought they were just friends, that they had to work.
Audrey's car was later located at the cafe where she had met up with Hotard. The keys found at the crime scene fit the ignition.
On December 6, Audrey's ex- received a phone call, supposedly from Audrey, saying she was in trouble and needed help, then hung up. Audrey spoke with a California accent, and the mother-in-law was certain the call was from Audrey. There was also a possible sighting of Audrey in New Orleans. A witness described a haggard, disheveled woman, whose resemblance to Audrey was striking. The woman was never identified, and was never confirmed to be Audrey.
There has been many rumors, speculations and even confessions in the case. However, Audrey has never been located, and Thomas Hotard's killer never identified.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office
LSU FACES Number: 454
The Odessa American
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