Missing Lafayette woman believed to be dead, suspect charged wit - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Missing Lafayette woman believed dead, suspect charged with murder

Mickey Shunick photo. Source: Lafayette Police Dept. Mickey Shunick photo. Source: Lafayette Police Dept.
Brandon Scott Lavergne photo.  Source: KLFY-TV Brandon Scott Lavergne photo. Source: KLFY-TV
Media gathers for 1 p.m. press conference in Lafayette Media gathers for 1 p.m. press conference in Lafayette
Lafayette, LA (KPLC) -

A woman reported missing in May is believed to be dead and a suspect is charged with first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping, police said.

Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, was booked on Thursday, July 5 in connection with the disappearance of Mickey Shunick, according to Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft.

Lavergne is refusing to cooperate with authorities, Craft said.

Craft gave some details in a Friday afternoon press conference, but stayed away from releasing specific information on a crime scene in St. Landry Parish or why they believe Shunick is no longer alive.  

Shunick was last seen shortly before 2 a.m. on May 19, days before her 22nd birthday. She was riding her bicycle home from a friend's house.

Craft said investigators believe Shunick was abducted in Lafayette between St. Mary St. and Blackham Coliseum May 19.

Security video cameras captured a white pickup truck in the same area Shunick was last seen riding her bicycle in Lafayette.

A week after Shunick's disappearance, her bike was found in a swampy area at the Whiskey Bay exit off I-10. Police said that her bicycle had damage to it that is consistent with it being struck by a vehicle.

Craft said detectives have evidence that shows Lavergne was near Whiskey Bay during the time that her bike was discovered.

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

Lavergne's white Chevrolet Z-71 pickup was found burned in San Jacinto County, Texas. 

At the time of his arrest, Lavergne was driving a white pickup that was 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.

He was taken into custody on unrelated charges by Louisiana State Troopers near I-10 and I-49 in Lafayette Parish. Authorities said the charge related to his required registration as a sex offender from a case dating back to the year 2000. He was charged with aggravated sexual battery.

Police said Lavergne had been working offshore for the past two week, prior to his arrest.

Craft said hundreds of people had been questioned but Lavergne's arrest is the only one in the case so far.

Lavergne appeared before a judge in a video conference Friday morning.  He was placed in critical care while in custody. Deputies say the move is to protect Lavergne from other inmates.

Authorities searched Lavergne's St. Landry Parish residence for evidence Thursday. The state's online list of registered sex offenders says Lavergne was convicted of aggravated oral sexual battery in 2000.

To view the Lafayette Police Department's press release [CLICK HERE]

WAFB-TV, The Associated Press and KATC-TV contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 KPLC.  All Rights Reserved.

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