The two bodies found by Bossier deputies in the Red River Thursday morning have been positively identified as missing mother and son, Jennifer and Coty Wilson.
The bodies were found around 9:30 a.m. about 12 miles south of the Highway 2 bridge in Plain Dealing. Based on fingerprint evidence, their identity was positively confirmed.
Jennifer and Coty Wilson are believed to have jumped from the Highway 2 bridge two weeks ago after their vehicle was found abandoned in the middle of the bridge.
“This is a tragic ending to two lives,” said Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington.
Bossier deputies, along with other agencies, have been diligently searching the Red River for the past two weeks for Jennifer Wilson, 53, and her son, Coty Wilson, 31, of the 300 block of Cottage Grove in Benton. They were last seen around 4 p.m. on March 15 at a gas station in north Caddo Parish with her silver Chevrolet Impala; around 6:40 p.m. that afternoon, their vehicle was reported abandoned on the middle of Highway 2 bridge over the Red River. Bossier detectives found a “goodbye” note from Jennifer in the vehicle and another similar note from Coty at another location.
“For the past two weeks, our deputies have been working tirelessly to find these two people,” said Sheriff Whittington. “The evidence pointed to them jumping into the river, and we were going to search until we located them…and today, our deputies found them.”
Bossier boat crews found the bodies on the edge of the river not far from Benton, and they transported them by boat about eight miles south on the Red River to the Cash Point RV Park where they had been launching boats for the past week.
While the search for the Wilsons was spearheaded by a crew of more than a dozen Bossier Sheriff’s Office deputies on half a dozen boats, there was plenty of help from other agencies.
“I am so grateful for the support of our fellow law enforcement agencies and fire departments,” said Sheriff Whittington. “When the going gets tough and we need some help, we can count on each other, and that makes such a difference.”
Joining the Bossier deputies in the search were K-9 cadaver crews, aviation support from helicopter and airplanes, and boat crews from the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bossier City Fire Department, Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office, South Bossier Fire District #2, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Shreveport Fire Department, and DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“Our deputies worked 12 to 14 hours a day, boating some 40 miles down the Red River from the Highway 2 bridge to the Arthur Ray Teague boat launch, as they methodically searched for the Wilsons in the river,” said Sheriff Whittington. “We were quite cognizant of the nay-sayers who were commenting they were not in the river, that they were long gone, but our team persisted in our search. And our deputies found them.”
The bizarre nature of this case continues as Gary Wilson, the husband of Jennifer Wilson and father of Coty, remains incarcerated at the Bossier Maximum Security Facility. Gary Wilson was first arrested in late February and faces multiple charges in relation to the investigation of deer camp vandalism and arson in the Plain Dealing and Benton areas. His current bond is $825,000, and Bossier deputies are continuing their investigation.
Coty Wilson was also arrested a short time after his father was arrested, but he had bonded out of jail. As detectives investigated the case, they found that the Wilsons had a substantial amount of money, and they were following the money trail. Most of that money has been accounted for. While crews were searching for the Wilsons in the river, detectives were also aggressively working on land as they searched for any clues.
“This has been a bizarre case and an unfortunate ending to the lives of two people,” said Sheriff Whittington. ‘And while this tragic ending is not what any family and loved ones want to hear, finding their bodies hopefully brings some closure.”