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Entries in Mickey Shunick (9)

Friday
Aug172012

Mickey Shunick Fought for Her Life, Court Documents Reveal

The Shunick Family(LAFAYETTE, La.) -- The man accused of killing Louisiana student Mickey Shunick pleaded guilty Friday to her murder and the killing of another woman in exchange for life in prison without parole. The court document explaining the plea deal also reveals a blow-by-blow account of Shunick's desperate fight for her life the night she died.

The document details how Shunick fought back against her attacker by spraying him with Mace, stabbing him several times and fighting relentlessly until he ultimately shot her in the head. The court filing was posted online Friday by ABC News' Lafayette affiliate KATC-TV.

Shunick, 22, was a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when she vanished May 19. She was last seen about 2 a.m. riding her bike from the home of her friend Brettly Wilson.

Brandon Scott Lavergne, a registered sex offender, was arrested and charged with Shunick's murder and aggravated kidnapping last month. He initially pleaded not guilty and would have faced the death penalty had he not agreed to the deal.

On the night Shunick disappeared, Lavergne followed her bike in his truck, according to a statement in support of his plea filed in Louisiana's 15th Judicial District Court Friday. He had been driving around Lafayette, La., using his cellphone to call escort services, the document said. Surveillance footage of the white pickup truck would eventually lead police to Lavergne.

Lavergne intentionally hit Shunick's bike and insisted that she enter his truck, the document said. He put her bike in the bed of his truck and the filing said that Lavergne was in possession of a knife and a semi-automatic handgun, which he kept in his car.

When Shunick attempted to grab her cellphone to call for help, Lavergne threatened her with his knife.

"Micky sprayed mace into the Defendant's face," the court document said. "Micky fought off the Defendant who succeeded in wrestling the mace from Mickey. Micky grabbed the Defendant's knife and proceeded to stab the Defendant several times in what would later be called life threatening wounds."

The court document misspells Shunick's first name throughout.

Lavergne tried to grab the knife from Shunick, which caused him to cut tendons in his hands.

"Micky fought with the much larger and stronger Defendant who succeeded in taking the knife from Micky," the filing said. "The Defendant then stabbed Micky at least 4 times and she fell over. Micky lay motionless. The Defendant felt for a pulse but felt nothing."

Lavergne then drove Shunick's motionless body to a secluded area 40 minutes away, where he planned to dump her body and escape, according to the filing.

"Suddenly, Micky jumped up, with the Defendant's knife she had regained possession of and lunged at the Defendant stabbing him again in the chest," the court document said. "The Defendant pulled his semi-automatic handgun, which he had armed himself with, and shot Micky in the head, killing her instantly."

With his additional injuries, Lavergne did not leave Shunick's body and instead drove to his home to nurse his wounds, with her still in the passenger seat. At home, he also destroyed the clothes he was wearing.

He then drove to the area of an old cemetery in Evangeline Parish to bury the body, but was unable to dig because of his wounds, according to the filing.

"Instead, he left Micky's body in a nearby tree line, covering her body with branches and debris," the court document said.

Lavergne returned home to clean up more and formulate his plan. He destroyed more evidence and arranged to stay with an out-of-town friend. He dumped Shunick's bike in a river beneath a bridge where it was later discovered and became a key piece of the investigation.

He also disposed of the handgun and the knife, the document said.

When Lavergne returned to Lafayette from his friend's home in New Orleans the next day, he returned to where he had left Shunick's body and buried Shunick's body in a heavily wooded area near the old cemetery.

The body was found there in August 2012 and positively identified by authorities.

"The Defendant, and his counsel, affirm and agree that this factual basis is indeed true, correct, and accurate," the end of the document reads. "The Defendant affirms and agrees that he is, in fact, guilty of the First Degree Murder of Michaela Shunick."

The document is signed by the district attorney, Lavergne and his attorneys.

The Shunick family did not respond to request for comment today, but released a statement after today's court hearing, according to The Advocate newspaper.

"My sister, Mickey Shunick, was a warrior," Shunick's sister, Charlene "Charlie" Shunick, wrote. "If it wasn't for her, our community never would have been able to bring down a dangerous man that harmed multiple people."

Shunick's mother, Nancy Anne Rowe, wrote, "She refuses to be a victim. My courageous child faced down a monster. Now I think I can face monsters too. And so can you."

In the document, Lavergne also pleaded guilty to killing Lisa Pate in June 1999. He met her in Lafayette, La., and "enticed and persuaded" her to go with him to a place outside of the town. They were together for several days, but when Pate said she wanted to leave, he refused to let her.

Authorities believe Lavergne killed her by putting a plastic bag over her head, the document said. Her body was found in September 1999.

Prosecutor Keith Stutes was not available for comment Friday afternoon but said in court Friday that the plea agreement required Lavergne to tell investigators where Shunick's body was and to re-enact the events surrounding the killings, according to The Advocate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug102012

Mickey Shunick's Body Positively Identified

Shunick Family(LAFAYETTE, La.) -- The remains of missing Louisiana student Mickey Shunick have been positively identified by police.

The Lafayette Coroner's Office sent Shunick's medical and dental records to the Louisiana State University Faces Lab, where the identification was made. Her remains were sent there because her body was in the "advanced stages of decomposition," according to Keith Talamo of the coroner's office.

The body was excavated from a remote wooded area, along with some clothing and jewelry, earlier this week. Police said at the time that they "strongly believed" the remains belonged to Shunick, but were waiting for the coroner to confirm the identity.

The Lafayette Police Department announced the positive identification in a short, two-line news release.

"Investigators have identified the body discovered in Evangeline Parish as that of Michaela 'Mickey' Shunick," the release said. "There will be no further comment on the Shunick investigation at this time."

Shunick's family has asked for privacy from the media, but told ABC News' Lafayette affiliate WBRZ that they can now begin the healing process.

The body was found in a remote wooded area near a cemetery, about 45 miles from where Shunick disappeared.

"There were some things such as clothing and jewelry that were removed from the site," Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department told ABC News.

Shunick, 22, was a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when she vanished on May 19. She was last seen about 2 a.m. riding her bike from the home of her friend Brettly Wilson.

Brandon Scott Lavergne, a registered sex offender, was arrested and charged with Shunick's murder and aggravated kidnapping last month.  

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug082012

Body Believed to Be Mickey Shunick's Excavated, Jewelry Found

The Shunick Family(LAFAYETTE, La.) -- The body that police believe belongs to missing Louisiana student Mickey Shunick was excavated from a remote wooded area along with some clothing and jewelry.

"Right now, the body is in the hands of the coroner's office and forensic experts," Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department told ABC News today. "We feel very strongly that this is Mickey Shunick. We just can't say with 100 percent certainty that it is, in fact, hers."

Mouton said it could take "a day or two" before the body can be positively identified. The body was found in a remote wooded area near a cemetery, about 45 miles from where Shunick disappeared.

"There were some things such as clothing and jewelry that were removed from the site," Mouton said. The site has been fully excavated and the crime scene has already been released, he said.

Mouton said that Shunick's family has not seen the remains or the items that were found, but that police are in "constant contact" with the family.

Shunick, 22, was a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when she vanished on May 19. She was last seen about 2 a.m. riding her bike from the home of her friend Brettly Wilson.

Brandon Scott Lavergne, a registered sex offender, was arrested and charged with Shunick's murder and aggravated kidnapping last month.

Mouton said authorities were directed to the body on a tip, but did not specify where the very detailed tip came from.

Shunick's family released a statement Tuesday night saying it is aware of what the police have found and family members are awaiting positive identification.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug072012

Mickey Shunick's Body Believed Found in Remote Wooded Area

Shunick Family(LAFAYETTE, La.) -- The body of missing Louisiana college student Mickey Shunick was believed to have been found Tuesday buried in a remote wooded area near a small cemetery, police said.

"We believe strongly this will be Mickey Shunick, but we cannot confirm that at this time," said Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department.

Shunick, 19, was a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when she vanished on May 19. She was last seen about 2 a.m. riding her bike from the home of her friend Brettly Wilson.

Brandon Scott Lavergne, a registered sex offender, was arrested and charged with Shunick's murder and aggravated kidnapping last month.

Mouton said authorities were directed to the body on a tip, but did not specify where the very detailed tip came from.

"We received credible information as far as where she could be located, off Route 10 in Evangeline Parish," the corporal said. "It was confirmed there was an area where a body was buried off the roadway and beyond a cemetery."

Mouton said police followed a private road past a small cemetery of about 30 headstones and into a wooded area to the spot where the body was buried. The burial site is about 45 miles from where Shunick disappeared.

Mouton said the body has been found, but not excavated because the area is being treated as a crime scene.

Shunick's family released this statement saying it is aware of what the police have found and family members are awaiting positive identification.

"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," the family's statement said.

The first clue to solving Shunick's disappearance came when her bike was found beneath a bridge at Whiskey Bay on the Atchafalaya River. The location of the bike was more than 25 miles from where she was last seen.

Soon after Shunick's disappearance, police released a surveillance video showing her on a bicycle the night she disappeared as well as footage of a white pickup truck.

Lafayette Chief of Police Jim Craft said the video led detectives to identify the truck as belonging to Lavergne, and to place Lavergne in the area on May 19.

Police said the rear rim of her bicycle was consistent with being struck by a vehicle from behind.

"Based on the info we have, and the vehicle seen in the area, [we believe] he was riding around, looking for someone to victimize," Craft said at the time of Lavergne's arrest.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul062012

Sexual Offender Arrested in Missing Louisiana Student Case

Released to Public by Michaela's Family(CHURCH POINT, La.) -- A registered sex offender has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the disappearance of University of Louisiana senior Michaela "Mickey" Shunick.

Cops arrested Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, on Thursday at his home in Church Point, La., just six miles from where Shunick was last seen riding her bike.  Lavergne has been charged with first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.

Police would not comment on how they connected Lavergne to the Shunick case.

ABC News has learned that Lavergne appears on the Louisiana State Police website as a registered sex offender.  The website says Lavergne was convicted in 2000 of aggravated oral sexual battery.  He was released from prison in 2008.

A 1 p.m. press conference is scheduled for Friday.

Shunick was last seen leaving her friend Brettly Wilson's house on her bike just before 2 a.m. on May 19.  More than a week after she went missing, surveillance video showed her on a bicycle the night she disappeared.  Police were trying to track down information about a white pickup truck seen on the same video.

On the sex offender website, Lavergne is listed as having a white 2011 Chevrolet Silverado.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun082012

Investigator Has Suspect in Disappearance of Louisiana Student

Released to Public by Michaela's Family(LAFAYETTE, La.) -- A private investigator hired to help find missing Louisiana college student Michaela "Mickey" Shunick believes that he may have information about a suspect.

John Abdella, a P.I. hired by private donors trying to help solve the case, told ABC News affiliate KATC that he has received two tips from independent sources describing the same person.

“And their description was almost identical,” said Abdella.

Abdella noted there may be two credible suspects in the case, based on the tips he has received in the past week.

“They appear to be very credible and they appear to be very knowledgeable,” Abdella told KATC.  “And I thought it was more than coincidental that both of their descriptions were the same.”

Abdella said he plans to meet with police to share his information about the leads.

For Shunick’s family, Abdella’s information is welcome news as they try to stay focused on finding the 21-year-old.

“Hopefully it takes us somewhere in the next couple of days,” the missing woman’s brother, Charlie Shunick, said.

“Everything we are doing, everything that’s going on here, everything people are doing is to find Mickey.  It has nothing to do with anything else.  Our goal is to find my sister,” Charlie Shunick told KATC.

Abdella said he believes that the Lafayette police, who are the lead agency on the case, are working hard to find Shunick, who disappeared in May while riding her bicycle home from her friend’s house in the middle of the night.  Shunick’s bicycle was later found badly damaged under a bridge about 30 minutes from where she disappeared.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May312012

Missing Louisiana Student's Bike Suffered Significant Damage

Released to Public by Michaela's Family(LAFAYETTE, Louisiana) -- Missing Louisiana student Michaela "Mickey" Shunick's recovered bike suffered significant damage to the rear tire, including a bent rim, authorities said on Wednesday.

The bike was discovered in a muddy basin under a bridge Sunday morning, but authorities had been tight-lipped about its condition.  The bike was about 27 miles from where Shunick, 22, was last seen on surveillance footage riding her bike home from a friend's house at around 2 a.m. on May 19 in Lafayette, La.

"We strongly believe that the person, or perpetrator, drove down to the edge of the water and dumped the bike into the water for it not to be found," Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department said.

The fact that the bike was found damaged and dumped near a highway suggests Shunick might have been hit by a car, ABC News consultant and former FBI special agent Brad Garrett said.

"If her bike was hit by a vehicle...you may be able to tell from the damage whether it was intentional or not," he said.  "[There] could be a wealth of information potentially gathered in addition to the location of the bike."

Garrett said the bike could have paint from the suspect's vehicle on it or DNA from Shunick or the suspect.

Authorities are also searching for the drivers of three cars -- a white pickup truck, a four-door Chevy and an older model sedan -- that were spotted on security footage around the same time and in the same area where Shunick was last seen.

"The vehicles we're looking for are just vehicles of interest, not necessarily suspects," Mouton said.  "We know those vehicles were in the area and in the immediate area."

When asked whether police had been able to contact any of the vehicles' drivers, Mouton said, "Not as of yet, but we are working on some things as of now."

Garrett said, "It's very important for them to locate and identify the drivers of the vehicles that were on surveillance tape because one of them could be the suspect, but, equally important, they could be witnesses."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May282012

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

Monday
May282012

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







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