Texas group returns to help look for Mickey Shunick

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

LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - A Texas-based group returned to Louisiana this weekend to aid in the continued search of a missing UL-Lafayette student.

Equusearch is back in Lafayette to help authorities look for Mickey Shunick. However, this time around the team is only using its own members and not asking for volunteers.

The group will only say it is assisting the Lafayette Police Department, but did not give details on where the search is now focused.

The 22-year-old was last seen riding her bicycle in the early morning hours of May 19. Documents show the man arrested in connection with her disappearance went to a hospital hours after she was last seen.

According to a police report out of Jefferson Parish, Brandon Lavergne was treated for stab wounds at a hospital around 10 p.m. on the same day. The report stated Lavergne couldn't remember where he was attacked and he got vaguer as he was questioned.

Deputies said Lavergne told them someone at a gas station attacked him with a knife or sharp weapon when he stopped to ask for directions, but was unable to remember where the alleged attack occurred. They said he couldn't give street names, buildings or any details about the area where he claimed he was attacked.

Investigators said Lavergne eventually stopped cooperating and that's where the investigation into the alleged attack stopped. Lavergne was treated at the hospital and released.

Authorities from St. Landry and Lafayette parishes followed up Thursday on a tip on possible gravesites two miles from Lavergne's home, but all three sites were ruled out as graves.

Lavergne, 33, a convicted sex offender, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the case of the missing UL-Lafayette student. He is scheduled to go before a Lafayette grand jury on Wednesday.

The Louisiana State Police arrested him 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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