Lafayette Police Have Evidence That Leads Them To Believe Mickey Shunick Was Murdered, Suspect Brandon Scott Lavergne Not Cooperating [VIDEO]
Today's press conference in relation to the recent arrest connected to the disappearance of Mickey Shunick confirmed a lot of information firsthand from the Lafayette Police Department, but still left a lot of questions unanswered. According to Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft, the reason some questions remain unanswered is to avoid hindering the investigation that is still currently ongoing.
Here's what we do know based on our sister station KPEL 96.5's coverage at the LPD press conference.
- Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, of Church Point, LA was stopped by Louisiana State Police on Thursday, July 5, 2012 near I-10 and I-49 for a traffic violation and was arrested on an warrant surrounding his registration as a sex offender.
- Brandon Scott Lavergne's ID was altered to hide the fact that he was a sex offender.
- As police began to question Brandon Scott Lavergne he refused to cooperate and requested an attorney. At that point police charged him with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. Chief Craft could not comment in detail, but said that based on information developed from investigators, the charges were appropriate. The District Attorney's Office confirmed that there was enough evidence to warrant the murder charge.
- Video evidence shows Brandon Scott Lavergne driving the white Chevrolet Z-71 pickup near the area that Mickey Shunick was last seen riding her bicycle on the night she went missing.
- Chief Craft confirmed that the vehicle of interest from that surveillance footage was registered to Brandon Scott Lavergne. Upon further investigation, police found out that the truck was reported stolen in Montgomery County, TX and was later located in San Jacinto County, TX on May 31, 2012. The truck had been burned just days after police released photographs of the white Z-71 as a vehicle of interest.
- Police say Brandon Scott Lavergne bought a new truck, identical to the vehicle of interest and his previous truck just days after it had been burned.
- Brandon Scott Lavergne's mobile-home structure on Elaine Rd. in Church Point, LA is still being searched and processed by investigators.
- A concerned citizen is who tipped police off about Lavergne. Chief Craft says it is likely that this citizen used the designated tipline.
- No other persons have been arrested in this case, but hundreds have been questioned.
- Police don't believe there is any relation between Shunick and Lavergne.
- Chief Craft would not confirm whether Mickey Shunick was dead or not, and says that there are no clues as to where the body may be.
- When asked about a bite mark on Lavernge's hand by KATC's Marcelle Fontenot, Chief Craft declined to comment.
- Chief Craft believes that Brandon Scott Lavergne was driving around looking for someone vulnerable enough to attack.
- Brandon Scott Lavergne is an offshore worker and has been offshore for roughly the past two weeks.
- Police believe Mickey Shunick is dead, but will not divulge any information that has led them to that conclusion.
Brandon Scott Lavergne Arrested On Murder Charge In Mickey Shunick's Disappearance - LPD Presser
The following is the complete transcript from Chief Craft's briefing at today's presser.
The Lafayette Police Department would like to extend its appreciation to the Shunick Family, all of the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation, countless volunteers, private business entities, and the public that have assisted in the search and continue to be there as this investigation remains ongoing. I must caution all of you that although an arrest has been made in this case, much work remains to be done.
Working with our Federal, State and local partners, the Lafayette Police Department has arrested Brandon Scott Lavergne and charged him with 1st Degree Murder and Aggravated Kidnapping. Lavergne is believed to be responsible for the disappearance of Michaela “Mickey” Shunick.
On May 19th of this year, the Shunick family reported Mickey’s disappearance. She had not returned home, missed her brother’s graduation from high school, had notified no one of her location, and did not respond to calls made to her cell phone.
On May 25, video evidence was discovered from an LCG facility that captured Mickey on her bike. Several vehicles were observed in the same video and broadcast to the public as vehicles of interest. All of the vehicles of interest were ruled out except for a white Chevrolet Z71 pickup. The driver as well as the vehicle was not ever identified nor did anyone come forward.
On May 26, Mickey’s bike was located under the Whiskey Bay Bridge on I-10 with damage to the rear tire consistent with being struck by a vehicle.
On June 14, Investigators received information from a concerned citizen, regarding a white Z71 that may be involved in Mickey’s disappearance. The vehicle in question was registered to Brandon Lavergne. Further investigation revealed that the truck was reported stolen in Montgomery County, Texas and later located in San Jacinto County, Texas on May 31st. The truck had been burned just days after police released photographs of the truck as a vehicle of interest.
Based on information and surveillance detectives were able to positively identify the truck that traveled directly behind Mickey in the video as belonging to Brandon Lavergne. Investigators are also able to place Brandon Lavergne in and around the location of where the bicycle was located.
On Thursday, July 5, Louisiana State Police conducted a traffic stop on Lavergne near the intersection of I-10 and I-49. He was arrested on an unrelated warrant and transported to the Lafayette Police Department.
During questioning at Lafayette PD, Lavergne requested an attorney and has refused to cooperate any further with the investigation. At that time, he was additionally charged with the aggravated kidnapping and murder of Mickey Shunick.
This has been a very difficult ordeal for the Shunick Family and we thank them for their continuous cooperation, encouragement, and support in our attempts to determine what happened to Mickey. We want the family to know that we will not rest until we can fully know what happened to her. We continue our efforts to locate and bring Mickey home.
This type of case can overwhelm one agency. A tremendous amount of time, equipment, and resources have been put into this investigation. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not acknowledge and thank all of the agencies and private businesses that have been with us from day one of this case: LPSO, ULPD, Lafayette City Marshal’s Office, LSP, SMSO, SLSO, Iberia SO, Iberville SO, East Baton Rouge SO, Acadia SO, Patterson PD, FBI, US Marshal’s Service, LSP Crime Lab, Acadian Crime Lab, C & C Technologies, and Holbrook Media. It is these types of partnerships that have made an arrest possible in this matter.
I will take questions at this time but I want to caution you that because the investigation is on-going, there is a lot of information that we will not be able to divulge or discuss.