Entries in Lafayette (3)


Mickey Shunick Disappearance: Police Seek Driver Looking to Pick Up Women

(Shunick family) (Lafayette, LA.) -- Images of missing Louisiana student Mickey Shunick caught on surveillance tape the night of her disappearance have prompted police to wonder whether three vehicles seen in the tape might be involved.

One of the vehicles, a white pickup truck, was immediately recognized by Tasha Patterson, a Lafayette woman who said she was approached two months ago by the vehicle while riding her bike and the driver, a middle-aged white man, offered her a ride and then asked her to have sex with him for money.

“He says he rides around town all the time trying to pick up pretty girls,” Patterson told ABC News affiliate KATC, although it’s unclear whether she accepted the ride.

Police are looking for the white, newer-model pickup truck with tinted windows, in addition to a four-door sedan and a second four-door white Chevy truck seen on the surveillance video.

Police released details of the surveillance video as they sought to uncover more details about how Shunick, 22, disappeared while bicycling home from a friend’s house early in the morning May 19. Shunick, a senior anthropology major at the University of Louisiana, was an avid bicyclist, according to family members.

Police located Shunick’s bike Sunday – a black and gold Schwinn – underneath a bridge along the Atchafalaya River, more than 27 miles from where she left her friend’s home. They have searched the area with all-terrain vehicles and boats for any signs of Shunick.

“We’ve expanded as wide as what we feel comfortable that we don’t miss anything,” Officer Paul Mouton of the Lafayette police department said. “It is quite a large area down beneath the bridge.”

Police said the search will continue Monday for Shunick.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mickey Shunick: Missing Student's Bike Found Under Bridge

(Shunick Family)(Lafayette, LA.) -- Two fishermen found the bicycle of missing Louisiana student Michaela "Mickey" Shunick on Sunday, more than a week after the 22-year-old woman went missing after leaving a friend's home on her bike.

Police found the bike early Sunday morning under a bridge at Whiskey Bay on the Atchafalaya River, after being tipped off by the fishermen.

Shunick's family members were brought to the scene and confirmed that the bike is Shunick's black and gold Schwinn. Police are not releasing details on the bike's condition.

Police are planning to perform a grid search of the area where the bike was found on ATVs. Officers are searching the Atchafalaya River by boat, but the river's current was too strong to allow for divers this afternoon, police said.

The discovery comes two days after investigators said they found surveillance video showing Shunick on a bicycle the night she disappeared, and they are trying to track down information about a white pickup truck seen on the same video.

The surveillance images appear to corroborate elements of the timeline surrounding Shunick's last known whereabouts because it is believed they show her riding her bicycle home from a friend's house at 1:47 and 1:48 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, as the friend had described.

The images show the bicyclist believed to be Shunick, a senior anthropology major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, on St. John Street and St. Landry Street in Lafayette, La.

According to a news release from the Lafayette Police Department, "Investigators are seeking information regarding a white newer model four door pickup truck, which was captured on video after Mickey Shunick traveled on both streets."

Investigators earlier had found other surveillance video showing a glimpse of someone riding a bicycle who they believed could be Shunick, but police said that video was too blurry to tell for sure if it was her.

Shunick left friend Brettly Wilson's house on her bike last week after a night out, and hasn't been heard from since.

Before the newest surveillance video, investigators searching for any clues have found no cell phone, purse or virtually any trace of Shunick after she left Wilson's house on her bicycle.

As investigators and the woman's family expanded the search, even sending out a recorded plea for help mentioning a $25,000 reward for information, some people in the area where she vanished have begun to wonder whether Shunick was abducted at all.

"What concerns us is, where is her bicycle?" Det. Stephen Bajat of the Lafayette police department said. "If it is some kind of abduction, most people would snatch and go on and not concern themselves with the bicycle."

"The only way to solve this is if someone comes forward with a tip -- and [investigators] need the public," former FBI profiler and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett said.

Hundreds of people from the community and beyond have come to aid in the search for Shunick. So many are coming to help that the volunteer headquarters had to be moved to the nearby university to accommodate them all.

Now Equusearch, the well-known search and recovery group, has turned out in force.

"We're hoping for the best," Tim Miller of Equusearch said. "We don't sugarcoat anything. It does not look good, doesn't look good at all, but we believe in miracles."

Wilson, the last person to see her the night she vanished, has turned to the Web with his plea for assistance in the search. He has posted a YouTube clip seeking help via social media.

"This is the power of social media ... To bring back somebody, and end a family's heartbreak … You have the chance to extend the information about this young woman to everyone you know," Wilson says in the clip.

Friends and family held a candle light vigil Tuesday night, and announced a reward for tips leading to her whereabouts. Searches by K-9 units, police and volunteers have turned up no hints of what happened, but her family remains hopeful.

A benefit concert occurred this weekend to increase the $25,000 reward for information on what happened to Shunick.

Shunick is 5-foot-1 and 115 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pastel multi-colored striped shirt, light-wash skinny jeans and gray shoes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UFO Sighting Spooks Lafayette, Colorado 

Thinkstock(LAFAYETTE, Colo.) -- Was it an airplane? Was it a satellite? 

The strange triangular formation of lights hovering above Lafayette, Colo., last week has many wondering if it's a sign that we're not alone.

Leroy van der Vegt and his son, Nick, captured the sight on camera.

"It was completely quiet. No noise at all," van der Vegt said.

The unidentified red lights did not blink but were in a triangular shape as they hovered in the sky.

Van der Vegt doesn't know what it was but he is sure that what he saw was not a satellite, helicopter or airplane.

Eventually, the triangle headed northeast and the lights faded, van der Vegt said.

Lester Valdez and all of his neighbors saw the unidentified lights.

"I have never witnessed anything like that," said Valdez.

He said they looked like tiny, bright alien ships from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

"It was exactly something like that where you see an object and they all got into a pattern and they stood in a pattern, and they all moved in a direction and then they pretty much dropped and that was it," Valdez said.

Grant Gazvoda and two friends sat in front of a Lafayette convenience store talking about the lights. Gazvoda said he saw them Monday night as he and friends were out stargazing.

"When it flew over, there was a really weird energy. Almost like a hyper need to move. My mind started racing. My body started shaking," Gazvoda said. "I freaked out at that point."

When asked what he thought the lights could be, Gazvoda said speculation is running rampant through town.

"UFO, maybe government stuff. People are saying aliens," he said.

Skeptics like Lafayette residents Katie and Kevin Caron say there must be a reasonable explanation for the lights that doesn't involve little green men.

"There's a lot of things you can't explain but the idea of it being an alien spacecraft is pretty wacky," Kevin Caron said.

ABC News called the Federal Aviation Administration but they declined to talk.

For now, it's clear this is an unidentified flying object.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio