BATON ROUGE, La. -- Police know that a former Chamberlain High School honor student from Tampa, whose body was found west of here, was slain by asphyxiation. But they don't know yet whether Carrie Lynn Yoder was the latest victim of a south Louisiana serial killer.
"The forensic evidence left at the scene is still being processed and has not conclusively linked Miss Yoder's death to the other homicides currently under investigation," Iberville Parish Sheriff Brent Allain said Friday.
Yoder's body was found by a fisherman Thursday in the marshy Whiskey Bay area of the Atchafalaya River Basin, the same area where one of the serial killer's four known victims was found last summer.
Yoder's family members refused to say whether they thought the slaying of the 26-year-old Louisiana State University graduate student was connected to the serial killer.
"Anything along those lines right now is nothing but speculation," said Steve Yoder, a cousin from Wilmington, Del., standing in front of Carrie Yoder's parents, as well as her boyfriend, a professor and an uncle.
Family members at a news conference said Yoder gave no indication that she felt as if she was being stalked or followed by anyone or in any danger. They described her as a woman who "marched to her own drummer" and knew how to protect herself.
"Carrie, we love you more today than we did yesterday and want you to know that we won't rest until we find the person responsible," Steve Yoder said.
Yoder graduated from the University of Florida and earned a master's degree at the University of Central Florida. Her parents live in Lake Jovita, a gated community in central Pasco County.
The state police crime lab looking at the forensic evidence taken from the body will determine whether any DNA evidence was recovered and whether it matches the DNA left by the serial killer on his victims, said East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office spokesman Don Moreau.