Former inmate talks about Brandon Lavergne

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

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC/WAFB) - A former inmate who served time with Brandon Lavergne has decided to comment on the man suspected of killing two women.

He said investigators questioned Lavergne about multiple murders when he was locked up seven years ago in Dequincy, LA.

"It was somebody very serious," said the man, who wished to remain anonymous. "It was a police agency and they come and questioned him for several hours about the murder of two or three women in the same Lafayette area. He come back several hours later and spoke to me and he was scared to death."

"[I] said, 'Brandon, did you do this?' A heads up question - basically, did you do it? And, instead of saying yes or no, he come back and said, 'I'm not going to tell you that or I can't tell you that,'" the former inmate added.

Within a day of the questioning, records show Lavergne was transferred to another prison in Avoyelles Parish. He would spend several years there before being released early on parole.

It was just learned Wednesday that Lavergne was checked out of prison the day before. It was the same day a body was discovered in rural Evangeline Parish. Investigators are in the process of confirming if it is the body of missing UL Lafayette student Mickey Shunick.

According to an inmate custody form at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center, Lt. Jack Lightfoot with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office checked Lavergne out of prison at 6:40 a.m. in connection with the Shunick case.

Capt. Kip Judice, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said Lavergne was removed from the facility by the request of the Lafayette Police Department. A spokesman for the police department would only confirm it did have an officer working with Lavergne on Tuesday, but would not comment further. The inmate was brought back to the jail around 3:30 p.m.

Cpl. Paul Mouton with LPD said a credible criminal source led investigators to the small patch of land in Evangeline Parish, but he would not say whether or not that source was Lavergne.

Mouton said a task force of law enforcement officers found a body, jewelry and clothing buried in what they described as a 5-foot deep grave.

Officials at the Lafayette Parish Coroner's Office indicated the body, which is believed to be Mickey Shunick, is in such an advanced stage of decay they had to send it to a face identification expert at Louisiana State University.

Keith Talamo, chief medicolegal investigator at the coroner's office, said Wednesday that Mary Manhein at the LSU FACES Laboratory will be handling the investigation of the body. Police found it buried at a cemetery about 100 yards off LA 10. Talamo added it would take 24 to 48 hours to identify the remains.

Investigators believe it could be Shunick's body. Officials are waiting on autopsy results, which are expected to be completed in the next couple of days.

Lavergne was indicted on first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the Mickey Shunick case. He was also indicted on first-degree murder for the death of Lisa Pate. The 34-year-old woman disappeared in Lafayette in June of 1999.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty.

Mickey Shunick disappeared in Lafayette in the early morning hours of May 19, 2012, while riding her bike home. Hundreds of volunteers helped police in the search.

The first big break in the case came eight days after she disappeared; when fishermen found her bike in a swampy area of the Atchafalaya Basin, 25 miles from where she was last seen.

The FBI joined multiple local agencies in the search, including examining waterways near where the bike was found.

As days passed, police knew chances of finding her alive were fading, but her family held out hope as national media picked up the story and police were flooded with thousands of tips.

Then on July 5, 2012, word came that police had a suspect, Brandon Scott Lavergne. After some investigation, he was charged with the murders of two women, including Shunick.

Lavergne, 33, is a convicted sex offender. The Louisiana State Police arrested him during a traffic stop on July 5 in Lafayette. He was taken into custody because 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.

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