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An 85-year-old man is still missing after disappearing from Moss Regional Hospital Monday morning. Lake Charles Police have been searching for Leroy Stewart, 85, in the area near Moss Regional. StewartMore >>
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LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) -
A grand jury formally charged Brandon Scott Lavergne with murder and
kidnapping in the disappearance of a Lafayette college student, but it also
revealed his suspected involvement in another woman's death.
Lavergne was indicted on first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping
in the Mickey Shunick case. Lavergne was also indicted on first-degree murder for
the death of Lisa Pate. The 34-year-old woman disappeared in Lafayette in June
According to the indictment, it is believed she was killed on or around
July 3, 1999. Her remains were found in Church Point, LA, in late September of
that year. Police said Lavergne is originally from Church Point, which is just
north of Lafayette.
Prosecutors said they will ask for the death penalty in both cases.
Lavergne's next scheduled court appearance is July 27.
Equusearch, a Texas-based group, returned to Louisiana the weekend of
July 14 to aid in the continued search for 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 Lavergne went to a hospital hours after she was
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.
Authorities from St. Landry and Lafayette parishes
followed up on a tip on July 12 about possible gravesites 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
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.
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 a
burned truck that was discovered near Houston, TX in June was later found to be
registered to Lavergne. He added detectives 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
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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