Grand jury hearing scheduled for Brandon Lavergne

Brandon Lavergne (Source: Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office)
Brandon Lavergne (Source: Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office)

LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - The man investigators say is responsible for the disappearance of UL-Lafayette student Mickey Shunick is scheduled to go before a grand jury in Lafayette on July 18.

Brandon Lavergne, 33, a convicted sex offender, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.

Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said evidence in the case suggests Shunick is dead. However, he added her body has not been found. Shunick was last seen on May 19 while riding her bike home in Lafayette.

Craft said a burned truck that was discovered near Houston, TX in June was later found to be registered to Lavergne.

The Louisiana State Police arrested Lavergne during a traffic stop on July 5 in Lafayette. He was taken into custody on an unrelated charge. Troopers said he failed to register as a sex offender from a case dating back to 2000. In that case, he was charged with aggravated sexual battery.

Craft said after being arrested by state police Lavergne was brought the Lafayette Police Department and, during initial questioning, Lavergne requested an attorney and refused to answer any further questions.

Lavergne is an offshore worker. He had been working offshore for the past two weeks just prior to his arrest police said.

Investigators spent several hours searching a home in the Lawtell area on July 5. Lawtell is located in St. Landry Parish, along US 190 just west of Opelousas. St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz confirmed the search of the home was related to the Shunick case.

Surveillance video from a business showed Shunick riding her bike home on May 19. It also showed a white truck in the area at the time. Craft said police were able to identify the truck found in Texas as being the same truck shown in that surveillance video.

Shunick's bicycle was found in a swampy area at the Whiskey Bay exit off I-10 eight days after she disappeared. Police said the bicycle had damage consistent with it being hit by a vehicle. Craft said his detectives have evidence showing Lavergne was around the Whiskey Bay near the time that bike was discovered.

"We can place his vehicle in that area at that time," Craft said.

He would not give further details. However, Lavergne's cell phone was confiscated at the time of his arrest. Police frequently use cell phone records to determine if a suspect's cell phone was in contact with cell phone towers in a particular area at a particular time.

At the time of his arrest, Lavergne was driving a white pickup that is the same model as the one he previously owned. Craft said records show Lavergne purchased another truck, almost identical to the first, after Shunick disappeared.

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