March 1, 2003

03/01/03: Jeremy Houk, 18, New Orleans, LA

Jeremy Houk, 18, disappeared sometime after midnight March 1, 2003 just a few weeks before his 19th birthday. It was Mardi Gras weekend. The Tulane University freshman last was seen walking down Zimpel Street between midnight and 2 a.m after leaving a fraternity party at a friend's house near the Uptown section of New Orleans. His wallet and personal belongings were left behind. He never returned to his dorm. His body was found on the banks of the Mississippi River two months later.

A likely sighting
In late April, a woman from Biloxi, Miss., told private investigator Dave Burroughs, who was hired by the Houk family, that she believed she saw Houk lying across the seats of a streetcare passed out early on the Friday before Mardi Gras. She said she shook him, but was unable to wake him, so she alerted the streetcar conductor. The conductor woke the man and asked him where he was going. The man said, "Maurice," a location that wasn't familiar to the woman or the conductor, so the man was asked to get off the streetcar at Jackson and St. Charles avenues. The witness said he began walking torward the Mid-City area. After seeing reports about Houk's disappearance, the woman called police. Both the woman and the conductor identified Houk as the man passed out on the streetcar. "We later found there is a coffee shop called Maurice on the corner of Zimpel and Carrollton, which is the direction Jeremy was last seen walking by the people at (the party)," Burroughs said. "So that fits. The timing fits and the description fits. The (witness) says she's pretty sure that's him." He was believed to have been riding on the streetcar for more than three hours.

The Search
When her son vanished, Lindsey, who is the director of Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, undertook a massive search, traveling to New Orleans and recruiting two private investigators, students, residents and police to aid in the search. Jeremy's wallet and most of his personal items -- except for his student identification card and Washington driver's license -- remained in his Tulane dorm room. Houk had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was on medication, which also was left in his room. The search turned up little else.

Recovery and AutopsyTugboat operators spotted a body in the Mississippi River 05/14/03 near the wharves near the Lower Garden District neighborhood. Investigators recovered the body, finding Houk's ID cards and clothing similar to that Jeremy was wearing when he vanished. The coroner confirmed it was the body of Jeremy Houk. He was not far from the coffee shop where he was believed to have been headed.

Preliminary autopsy results indicated there were no signs of foul play, ""He was not shot, he was not stabbed, he had no broken bones," Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard said. It was later determined that Houk had drowned.

About JeremyHouk arrived in New Orleans with grand ambitions. Handsome and tall, with dirty blond hair and hazel eyes, he graduated as a high school debate champion from the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he was a debating champion. He would spend hours debating public policy with his mother. Houk "never met an argument he didn't like," his mother, Gina Marie Lindsey has said. "He wanted to be president of the United States," Teri-Ann Betancourt, airport spokesperson said. "That was his aspiration." He was taking pre-law courses at Tulane and hoped to work in government after getting a law degree and genuinely aspired to be president of the United States, Betancourt said.

Facts of Interest in this Case:Name/age: Jeremy Houk, 19 (freshman)
Hometown: Seattle, WA
College: Tulane University - New Orleans, LA
Last Seen: 03/01/03, Zimpel Street
Recovered: 05/14/03, Mississippi River
Physical description: 6'1, dark blonde hair

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