Lafayette police lay out case against suspect in missing student case

Published: Jul. 6, 2012 at 7:23 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2012 at 3:23 PM CDT
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Suspect's vehicle tied to disappearance of ULL coed-Photo: Lafayette Police Dept.
Suspect's vehicle tied to disappearance of ULL coed-Photo: Lafayette Police Dept.

Lafayette, La. - Surveillance video, a citizen tip and a lot of police work culminated in an arrest in the mysterious disappearance of a University of Lafayette student more than a month ago.

Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said, "Lavergne is believed to be responsible for the disappearance of Mickey Shunick."

Louisiana State police picked up 33-year-old Brandon Scott Lavergne Wednesday afternoon on an unrelated warrant during a traffic stop.

Lafayette Police booked him with first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.

The wide-ranging investigation started May 19th when 21-year-old Mickey Shunick set out for home on her bicycle from a friend's house and never arrived.

When detectives sat down to interview Lavergne at the Lafayette Police Department Thursday afternoon, he immediately asked for lawyer. He's not cooperating with investigators.

Lafayette police say they have evidence to link Lavergne to her disappearance and they say, her murder.

The case began to fall into place June 14th with a citizen's tip that connected Lavergne to the white truck seen in surveillance video from the night Mickey set out on her bike.

"Based on information and surveillance, detectives were able to positively identify the truck that traveled directly behind Mickey in the video as belonging to Brandon Lavergne." according to Chief Craft.

Investigators also place Lavergne at Whiskey Bay, where searchers recovered her bike a week later.

"We have some evidence that we can't divulge at this time. But we can place his vehicle in that area at that time." said Craft.

Police say damage to Shunick's bike is consistent with being hit by a vehicle. Lavergne's truck turned up burned in San Jacinto county, Texas May 21st after being reported stolen.

Authorities have reason to believe Shunick is dead, but they're not tipping their hand on that part of the investigation.

But Chief Craft says, "The district attorney has reviewed our affidavit and our warrant and they are agreement with us that we had probable cause to arrest him."

Asked about a motive, Chief Craft said simply, "He's a sex offender."

"I think that, based on the information we have and the vehicle was seen in the area, you can see it on the video, maybe he was riding around looking for someone to victimize."

Still, this is a murder case without a body.

Since Thursday, investigators have been combing Lavergne's home in Church Point for evidence.

The investigation clearly does not end with this arrest Vows Craft, "We want the family to know that we will not rest until we can fully know what happened to her. We continue today with our efforts to locate and bring Mickey home."