Lafayette Police Confirm That The Body Recovered In Evangeline Parish Is That Of Mickey Shunick
Today the Lafayette Police Department has announced that the body they recovered in Evangeline Parish on August 7th is indeed that of missing UL student Mickey Shunick. Her body was recovered from a grave site behind a small cemetery just Northwest of Mamou on LA 10.
From Corporal Paul Mouton of Lafayette Police:
UPDATE: Body Identity Revealed
Lafayette, LA – "Investigators have identified the body discovered in Evangeline Parish as that of Michaela “Mickey” Shunick. There will be no further comment on the Shunick investigation at this time."
Lafayette Police say that they arrived at the cemetery site at approximately 7am Tuesday, Aug. 7th, and processed the scene for nearly 12-hours. During their investigation in Evangeline Parish, the Lafayette Metro Crime Unit, along with deputies from Evangeline Parish and Forensic Experts from LSU, removed a female body from a deep grave site. In addition to a badly decomposed body in the grave, investigators found articles of clothing and jewelery in the grave. While investigators were confident that they found Mickey, further examinations had to be conducted on the body before they could offer up a positive I.D.
On the night of August 7th 2012, the body that was recovered from the grave site was transported from Evangeline Parish back to Lafayette Parish to the Lafayette Parish Coroner's Office for further examinations. While the officials at the corner's office felt they did indeed have the body of Mickey Shunick, the body was sent to a face identification expert at Louisiana State University. There, a positive I.D. was made and the results have come back that Mickey Shunick was the person buried in the grave in Evangeline Parish.
Cpl. Paul Mouton, the spokesperson for the Lafayette Police Department, said a credible witness lead them to the site Tuesday morning. Since then we have learned that on the morning of August 7th the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Mickey Shunick, Brandon Scott Lavergne, was taken from the Lafayette Parish jail at 6:40 am, and did not return until after 3pm the same day.
Mickey Shunick went missing on May 19, 2012. Family and friends became concerned about her whereabouts after she failed to appear at her her young brother's high school graduation on May 20th, 2012.
Within one week of Mickey's disappearance, posters and signs were literally on every street corner in Acadiana and stretched as far east as Florida and as far west as California. A massive viral campaign was put together to #FindMickeyNow and the case had already gotten coverage from just about every local and national news outlet. In addition to the coverage, the search for Mickey Shunick brought the community together in a way that had never been seen before. Volunteers were showing up to the makeshift headquarters put together by friends and family of Mickey Shunick to aid in the search. The majority of people who reached out to help had never met Mickey Shunick or her family before, and those who were unable to physically participate in the organized searches, were donating supplies, food, and anything they could to help bring her home.
On May 26, 2012 the first big development in the case broke when authorities located the bike Mickey Shunick was last seen riding in surveillance video under the Whiskey Bay Bridge. Just one day before her bike was found, video surveillance photos were released to the public showing Mickey Shunick riding her bike on St. Landry, between University and St. Mary. Police initially identified three vehicles of interest, but after two of those vehicles were cleared, a white Chevy Z-71 became the primary vehicle of interest.
On July 5, 2012, Lafayette State Police arrested Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, of Church Point, LA on a warrant related to registering as a sex offender. Police then questioned Lavergne, a tier 3 sex offender, on the whereabouts of Mickey Shunick and his truck (the white truck of interest from surveillance photos) being found burned in San Jacinto County, TX. According to police, Lavergne failed to cooperate, asked for a lawyer and was subsequently booked on aggravated kidnapping charges and first-degree murder in the disappearance of Mickey Shunick.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shunick family during this difficult time. They teach you in journalism school to not become attached to a story you may cover, but how could you not become attached to such a wonderful family like the Shunick's? I have interviewed the mother of Mickey Shunick twice and I have interviewed the sister of Mickey Shunick, Charlene, on several occasions. The Shunick family is a model of all families in Acadiana. Their faith has remained strong through all of this, and their mission has always remained stronger: TO BRING MICKEY HOME!! Today, like Mickey, we can all rest now...Mickey has been brought home!!!