Search of possible grave site in Shunick case turns up nothing

Source: KLFY-TV in Lafayette, LA
Source: KLFY-TV in Lafayette, LA
Brandon Lavergne (Source: Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office)
Brandon Lavergne (Source: Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office)
Mickey Shunick
Mickey Shunick

LAWTELL, LA (WAFB) - The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office investigated three possible shallow graves not far from the home of Brandon Lavergne, but nothing was found.

Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said his detectives searched a rice field about two miles from Lavergne's home after receiving a tip from a farmer about three areas of disturbed ground in his field.

Guidroz said deputies investigated all three suspicious spots in the area and have ruled them out as graves.

"We determined there is no grave because of the extensive root system, trees, and underbrush growing in the mound, it was clearly not a grave site, and we dug deep enough to determine that," Guidroz said.

Lavergne was arrested last week in the disappearance of UL Lafayette student Mickey Shunick. She was last seen on May 19.

Brandon Lavergne, 33, a convicted sex offender, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. He is scheduled to go before a Lafayette grand jury on July 18.

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.

Lafayette Police Chief Jim 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 Lavergne's home in the Lawtell area on July 5. Lawtell is located in St. Landry Parish, along US 190 just west of Opelousas.

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.

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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