BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - While search efforts to find 40-year-old Lyntell Washington have been temporarily suspended, law enforcement officials say the investigation into the pregnant Baton Rouge teacher's disappearance is far from over.
"We still are actively working this case," said Cpl. L'Jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department. "We're following up on all the leads that we're getting. We still want people to come forward and we're working it as best we can."
Many people online were outraged after learning the search would not resume Saturday morning. "Well we've exhausted all our resources," McKneely said.
Crews were deployed in the air, on land, and in the water for much of the day Friday, searching five key areas across South Louisiana, including Baker, Zachary, Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, and Ramah. The multi-agency search was suspended at nightfall.
As police continue to plead for answers from the public, Washington's closest friend, Melissa Mason is speaking out. Mason said she is more like a sister to the missing teacher than a friend and said she has grown concerned, watching the situation unfold from New Orleans. She believes more could be done to find her loved one.
"It's just too short of a search," Mason said. "I know cases where pregnant women they look for them for a week."
Mason said she is disappointed in the search so far and believes time is running out.
"Why is she only getting eight hours?" she questioned. "I know the more time goes by the less I feel that's we'll have a positive outcome. I mean it's just too much time. We need to move quickly."
Mason said she is ready to join the search party and believes more people would as well if they knew where to start. She said rather than waiting for answers from the public, police need to start providing guidance.
"Tell us where to show up and we'll show up there because I know a lot of people are looking for her," Mason added. "She is loved. She has family, she has friends and people are worried. We want to help, we want to get out there and look for her."
As another day passes though, she said her hope is slowly slipping away. "I just want her found and I want to know that they're working aggressively and extensively to do that," she said. "I need her found. We all do."
Police say the suspect, 39-year-old Robert Marks, has gotten a lawyer and refuses to cooperate with the investigation. When asked about Marks, Mason said her primary concern is finding her friend. She said she is saving her comments about him until her friend is found.
Anyone with information that could help in the case are urged to call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP.