Conflicting reports cause confusion as Shunick case develops

Published: Aug. 7, 2012 at 8:31 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2016 at 1:26 PM CDT
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(Source: Lafayette Police Department)
(Source: Lafayette Police Department)

Lafayette, LA (KPLC) - Conflicting reports and rumors swirled Tuesday as media outlets rushed to report new details in the case of a missing Lafayette woman.

Moments after a Lafayette television station posted a story about the discovery of a body believed to be of Shunick, other media outlets across the state shared the breaking news.

CBS affiliate KLFY-TV posted on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon that multiple sources confirmed they found Shunick's body in Evangeline Parish. Almost simultaneously, other media outlets posted conflicting stories.

ABC affiliate KATC-TV reported a body was found in Evangeline Parish, but it was a man who died of natural causes.  By Tuesday evening, more details were made public by authorities, but not before original reports were removed from social media.

By Tuesday evening, KLFY-TV had deleted posts from its Facebook page related to the Shunick investigation after Lafayette Chief of Police Jim Craft said investigators were not 100 percent certain that remains found may be Shunick.

"We believe these remains are Mickey Shunick's," Craft said.

"But we are not 100 percent (certain)," Craft told The Advertiser newspaper.

Authorities said Tuesday they're awaiting test results to confirm the findings.

As the updates continued throughout the afternoon, Shunick's friends were waiting to hear from authorities while addressing the rumors and reports.

Margaret Bearb, the Mickey Shunick Headquarters Coordinator, released a statement from the Shunick family on the website

"We appreciate all the efforts of the law enforcement agencies, Searchers and Volunteers. We know that the media has reported that Mickey Shunick's body was found in Evangeline Parish, however, as of right now, and until an official press release is made by the proper officials, we cannot report, either way, that a body found was that of Mickey.

Also, we ask that you please respect the Shunick family by allowing them the privacy they need at this time. It has been, and still is, a long journey in the search to find Mickey, so we truly feel that they deserve some time alone until they are ready to respond to the current rumor."

Shunick was last seen alive in the early hours of May 19 while on a bicycle.  She was leaving a friend's home and was seen on security video in multiple locations in Lafayette.

On July 5, Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping related to the case. Authorities said Lavergne was connected to the disappearance after a white pickup truck seen in the security video was connected to him.

Lavergne pleaded not guilty to all charges, including counts related to the 1999 death of another woman, Lisa Pate.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.