LAFAYETTE, La. – A registered sex offender has been arrested and charged with the first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping of a Lafayette college student who has been missing since May 19.
Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, was arrested by State Police Thursday after a traffic stop near I-49 and I-10. The arrest was for failing to register as a sex offender.
While in police custody, Lavergne refused to answer questions regarding the disappearance of Mickey Shunick and at that time the murder and kidnapping charges were added, according to Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft.
Shunick was last seen on May 19 as she rode her bike home from a friend's house in the early morning hours. A large scale search started for Shunick and her family passed out flyers in an effort to find her.
Craft said her disappearance and lack of communication was unusual.
"She did not return home. She missed her brother's graduation from high school and she did not respond to calls made to her cell phone," he said.
Shunick’s bike was later found near Whiskey Bay with damage that would be considered consistent with having been hit from behind by a vehicle, according to Craft.
Surveillance video later surfaced that showed Shunick on her bicycle and police sent out photos of cars that were seen in the same location around the same time. At some point, all of the vehicles were accounted for, except for a white, Chevy V71.
Photos of the truck were later released to the public as a ‘vehicle of interest,’ and Craft said that days later it was reported as stolen in Montgomery County, Texas and later found burned in San Jacinto, Texas.
"Detectives were able to positively identify the truck, which followed behind Mickey in the video, as belonging to Lavergne," said Craft.
The sex offender registry said that Lavergne was charged with oral sexual battery in the early 2000’s.
Police said they don’t expect any other arrests in the Shunick case as they believe Lavergne acted alone. They said he may have been out in his truck that night, looking to find a victim.
While police wouldn’t comment on what evidence they found during a search of Lavergne’s home, they said they do feel like they have a strong case, even though they have not located Shunick’s body.