Fourth child possibly found after tragedy

January 21, 2008 9:16:31 AM PST
A body believed to be the last of four children who were allegedly tossed from a coastal Alabama bridge by their father was recovered Sunday, authorities said. The body of an Asian child was found in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana by boaters who contacted Coast Guard officials, who then took the body to Venice, La., Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said.

Authorities in Alabama will not be able to confirm whether the body is that of Hannah Luong, 2, until they get it back, Cochran said. But they ended the search of Alabama and Mississippi coastal waters based on the body's recovery.

"We believe -- and hopefully -- this will be the body of 2-year-old Hannah and that we'll able to bring closure to the family in this stage," Cochran said.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesau in New Orleans said the crew of the Crystal Lynn first spotted the body and contacted the Coast Guard, which was unable to find it during an aerial sweep of the waters.

A second boat saw it, leading to the recovery about 5.5 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River, she said. The Coast Guard said the body was found about 100 miles from the coastal Alabama bridge.

The search began Jan. 8 after prosecutors said the father broke down and confessed to driving the children to the two-lane bridge and throwing them into the waters.

Lam Luong, a native of Vietnam, later recanted, claiming two Asian women took the children and never returned them. Luong, 37, is being held without bond in isolation at a jail on capital murder charges.

The bodies of the three other children have already been found.

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