Shunick's body to be released to her family

Mickey Shunick
Mickey Shunick

LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - KLFY-TV in Lafayette, LA reports the Lafayette Parish Coroner's Office will release the body of Mickey Shunick to her family and make its report public Monday.

Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering Shunick and Lisa Pate.

Court documents show Shunick put up a fight against Lavergne. According to Lavergne's court statement, he hit Shunick with his white pickup truck while she was riding her bike the last night she was seen alive. She was thrown from the bike and Lavergne insisted she get into his truck. He put her bike in the bed of the pickup.

Shunick got into the truck and grabbed her cell phone to call for help and Lavergne pulled a knife out. She sprayed mace into Lavergne's face. As he was trying to get the mace away from her, she grabbed the knife and stabbed Lavergne several times in what would later be called life-threatening wounds. Lavergne fought and got the knife back. She was then stabbed multiple times and he believed he had killed her.

According to Lavergne's statement, about 40 minutes later, he drove to a sugar cane field in north Acadia Parish with the intention of dumping her body. Suddenly, Shunick jumped up and grabbed Lavergne's knife and lunged at him, stabbing him in the chest. Lavergne pulled out a gun he was carrying and shot her. She died instantly.

In his court statement, Lavergne said he drove to his home with Shunick still in the passenger seat of his truck. After he tended to his wounds, he got rid of his clothes and other evidence. He drove the body to an area of an old cemetery in Evangeline Parish where he planned to bury her body. He couldn't dig the hole because of his injuries, so he left the body in a nearby tree line, covering it with branches and debris.

The next day he went to an area off the Whiskey Bay area and threw the bike into the water. He drove to his friend's home in or around New Orleans. Once there, he got rid of the handgun and threw the knife in a dumpster.

According to a police report out of Jefferson Parish, Lavergne was treated for stab wounds at a hospital around 10 p.m. on May 19. 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.

Lavergne told police he returned from New Orleans on May 20. That day, he went back to where he left Mickey's body and buried her. He went home and burned other items of evidence, including Mickey's book bag. He got rid of her iPod and other evidence.

After authorities released surveillance images captured of Lavergne's pickup where Mickey was last seen in Lafayette, he left Louisiana and destroyed his pickup by setting it on fire. He fraudulently claimed it to have been stolen and made an insurance claim on it. To further cover up his involvement, he purchased an almost identical pickup to lessen local suspicion.

Authorities from St. Landry and Lafayette parishes followed up on a tip on July 12 about possible grave sites two miles from Lavergne's home in the Lawtell area, which is located along US 190 just west of Opelousas, but all three sites were ruled out as graves.

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.

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

Lavergne is an offshore worker. Police said he had been working offshore for the past two weeks just prior to his arrest. Investigators spent several hours searching Lavergne's home on July 5.

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