Last year, Lafayette saw one of it's biggest criminal investigations to date. We all watched as the Mickey Shunick saga unfolded right before our very eyes. I will admit, there were times when I felt like we were literally living inside an episode of 'Dateline.'

Well, last night - that 'Dateline' special aired on NBC.

'Missing Mickey' was the title, and from the moment the girl we now all know and love as Mickey Shunick disappeared, to how Lafayette police tracked down her killer - NBC 'Dateline' reporter John Mankiewicz did an amazing job chronicling the events that seemingly consumed our entire summer.

For the rest of the nation, this was a new story. Here in Acadiana, on the other hand, it was a story that we unfortunately knew all too well. With that said, NBC went above and beyond with the imagery, the aesthetic, and the journalism in which they presented the story.

There were a few bits of new information, as well as never-before-seen video footage that detailed exactly how investigators managed to put together the limited pieces to a very complicated puzzle. It also opened my eyes to how, in addition to the strength and relentless efforts of Mickey's friends and family, Lafayette as a community at large was responsible for bringing the man responsible to justice.

NBC Dateline reporter Josh Mankiewicz elaborates in our interview, previewing the hour-long special.

We have become used to seeing our area make national headlines for it's lackluster education and health rankings. We roll our eyes when we see our town depicted with cliche B-roll of swamplands and reptiles (hell, even 'Dateline' couldn't help themselves, lol). We cringe at the sight of previews showcasing the latest 'down south' reality show of the month.

But for once, last night's national spotlight on Lafayette is one that we should all be proud of. We were an example for the entire nation of what can be achieved through the spirit of community. We showed the world the things we can accomplish when we put aside our petty differences and work together.

As a community, let's never forget Mickey Shunick - and let's never forget how she fought so hard for her life to teach us, that in the end, all we truly need is love.

In case you missed the 'Dateline' special. You can check it out here. (the next clip will automatically pop up at the end of each video segment)

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