Monday, June 10, 2019

The Disappearance and Murder of Michaela "Mickey" Shunick

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Mickey Shunick was only 22 years-old when she vanished during the early-morning hours of May 19th, 2012. She spent the evening of May 18th attending a concert with friends at a venue called the Artmosphere in Lafayette, Louisiana. Afterwards, Mickey rode her bike back to a friend’s residence on Ryan Street.

Then, around 1:45 AM, Mickey began to ride her bike back towards her family’s home. She had plans to attend a sibling’s graduation ceremony the following morning. Unfortunately, Mickey never made it home. After being unable to get ahold of her, Mickey’s parents reported her missing around 5:00 PM that evening. 

Throughout the investigation, detectives obtained surveillance footage from cameras of businesses along Mickey’s route home. Around 1:48 AM on the morning of May 19th, Mickey was captured riding her bike on St. Landry Street. A white truck was also spotted driving in the camera’s frame as well. From that point forward, police worked to identify the owner of said truck, and they released surveillance images of both Mickey and the truck from the morning of her disappearance in hopes that somebody from the public would recognize it. 

Then, on May 26th, 2012, Mickey’s bike was found by a fisherman under Whiskey Bay Bridge. The bike had damage on it that was consistent with being hit by a vehicle. Days later, the Lafayette police received a tip about a white truck that was found burned out in Jacinto County, Texas. Police went to investigate the truck and determined that it was likely the same truck seen in the surveillance video from the night of Mickey’s disappearance.

Identifying the truck owner. 

Police eventually identified the owner of the truck: a then-33-year-old registered sex offender named Brandon Scott Lavergne. At that point, Lavergne became the prime suspect in Mickey's disappearance. Still, it would take investigators months to piece together what happened to Mickey on the night she vanished.

Brandon Scott Lavergne. (source:

Several charges for Lavergne. 

By July 2012, Lavergne no longer had the truck in his possession. Meanwhile, Mickey remained missing and numerous volunteer searches for her were fruitless. Then, on July 5th, 2012, police obtained a warrant for Lavergne's arrest for failing to re-register as a sex offender. Once they apprehended him, they also charged him with kidnapping and murdering Mickey - despite the fact that Mickey had not yet been found. 

Lavergne initially did not cooperate with investigators following his arrest. Still, investigators were also able to identify him as the prime suspect in another case: the 1999 murder of Lisa Pate. 

Lisa Pate. (source:

At his court appearance on July 18th, 2012, Lavergne was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder - for both Lisa and Mickey, respectively. He pleaded not guilty to both murder charges. 

Finding Mickey.

As Lavergne remained behind bars, the search for Mickey continued. On August 7th, 2012, investigators received a tip that led them to a section of property off of Louisiana Highway 10 in Evangeline Parish. Police shared that they were headed to said location, but they did not specify the tip that led them to such location. 

When they arrived on the scene, they found a location of a body that had been buried. It was immediately believed that they had found Mickey. Two days later, records confirmed that the body was, in fact, that of Mickey Shunick.

Lavergne accepts a plea deal.

Lavergne's next court date was just ten days after the discovery of Mickey's remains. Prosecutors originally planned to seek the death penalty against him. However, on August 17th, 2012, Lavergne decided to plead guilty to both murders in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole.


The truth about what happened to Mickey.

At the sentencing, it was revealed that Mickey fought for her life after being kidnapped by Lavergne. Prosecutors stated that they believed Lavergne intentionally his Mickey's bike with his truck that morning in order to get her to accept a ride from him. Once inside the truck, Mickey realized she was in danger. When she reached for her cell phone to call for help, Lavergne threatened her with a knife. 

Mickey then sprayed Lavergne in the face with mace, but he was eventually able to wrestle it away from her. Mickey grabbed Lavergne's knife and began to stab him, giving him wounds that were later referred to as life-threatening. Despite this, Lavergne was able to wrestle the knife away from Mickey. Once he had control of it, he stabbed Mickey four times, causing her to collapse. 

Thinking she was deceased, Lavergne started to drive to a secluded area approximately 40 miles away, where he planned to dump her body. However, during the drive, Mickey unexpectedly shot up and lunged at Lavergne with his knife, stabbing him in the chest. At that point, Lavergne pulled out his semi-automatic handgun and shot Mickey in the head, killing her instantly. 

Afterwards, Lavergne drove with Mickey's body in his truck to a friend's house, where he tended to his wounds. He later dumped Mickey's body in Evangeline Parish. Lavergne spent the following days destroying evidence of the crime.

It's believed that the injuries Mickey left on Lavergne ultimately led to him being the prime suspect in the case. In a statement to The Advocate, Mickey's sister wrote, "my sister, Mickey Shunick, was a warrior. If it wasn't for her, our community never would have been able to bring down a dangerous man that harmed multiple people."

1 comment:

  1. Courageous woman. She came close to killing or incapacitating him. This is a case where a plea to avoid the death penalty should not have been approved. This was a death penalty case all the way.