Searchers find body that may be woman missing since August

Published 12:24 am Sunday, November 11, 2007

Search and rescue workers believe they have found the body of a woman who has been missing since Aug. 3.

The body found Saturday morning is believed to be that of 29 year-old Brandi Hawkins Laurent who disappeared after a marital spat with her husband.

According information provided by law enforcement officers in the days following her disappearance, Laurent left her home on the night of Aug. 3, with no keys, cell phone or wallet after she and her husband had engaged in an argument.

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Another search for Laurent took place Saturday morning, and a short time after it began a body was found close to Laurent’s home, friends said. The search was conducted by Texas Equusearch, an organization under the direction of a man whose daughter was abducted and murdered, according to The search included Laurent’s friends, family, law enforcement officers and Texas Equusearch members.

About 20 minutes into their search, friends of Laurent got word that a body believed to be that of Laurent was discovered near a pipeline about a mile or two from Laurent’s home.

“It wasn’t too far from her home,” Madelyn Spiers said.

An investigator indirectly involved in the case said the body has not been properly identified yet. Hancock Sheriff Steve Garber was unavailable for comment Saturday afternoon.

Friends said that Laurent’s disappearance was uncharacteristic since she would be leaving her children unattended. Spiers said she grew up with Laurent, but lost touch with her as an adult. However, she remembers Laurent to be a smart and responsible person.

“That’s why we know that she did not leave her kids,” Spiers said.

The day she disappeared Spiers said she had contacted Laurent through the popular web site MySpace.

Friends said that Laurent and her husband could have been having marital troubles. Rachael Schustz-Steeve said the last time she talked to Laurent, about a year ago, Laurent talked about some issues she was having with her husband.

“She was in a bad place,” Schustz-Steeve said. “She was very upset.”

Jennifer Warton said she last saw Laurent where she worked. While Warton was going through the checkout line at the local Dollar Store, Laurent told her about some marital issues she was having.

“You could tell she wasn’t happy that day,” Warton said.

Described as a bright, loving and an intelligent person, Laurent is the mother of two children.

“She really loved her kids cause that’s all she talked about was them girls,” Warton said.