Police in Louisiana believe buried human remains, discovered in a wooded area near a cemetery, may be the body of missing college student Mickey Shunick. TODAY's Natalie Morales reports.
Police believe human remains discovered Tuesday in Louisiana are those of missing Lafayette resident Michaela "Mickey" Shunick.
The body, found in Evangeline Parish in central Louisiana, was taken to Lafayette by officials with the coroner’s office Tuesday evening.
“The remains do appear to be those of Mickey Shunick,” Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said Tuesday at a Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting. “Her family has been notified. We have a lot more processing to do and some scientific identification to do, but we believe those remains are that of Mickey.”
Officials say it could take up to three days to confirm the body’s identity.
The discovery comes almost three months after Shunick, a 21-year-old University of Louisiana at Lafayette student, disappeared while riding her bicycle home from a friend’s house at about 2 a.m. on May 19.
Her family reported her missing on May 20 when she failed to show up for her brother’s high school graduation.
Convicted sex offender Brandon Scott Lavergne, 33, of Swords, La., was arrested on July 5 in connection with Shunick’s disappearance. A Lafayette grand jury charged him with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the case.
But Shunick’s body was never found.
“We received some information that we followed up on, and that information led us to that location and we have not disclosed the exact location because we are still on scene doing some processing and so forth,” Craft told The Advertiser.
The tip led police investigators to an unpaved road in Evangeline Parish, where 50 to 60 yards down the road they found a cemetery with several older graves, Lafayette police spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton said.
The body was buried in an overgrown area behind the cemetery, about 100 yards away from the highway, he said. The burial ground is about 35 miles from Lavergne’s home in Swords, La.
Mouton, who was on the scene in Evangeline Parish on Tuesday, would not identify the source of the tip. He also would not say whether the location of the body came as part of a confession by Lavergne or a plea deal worked out between Lavergne’s attorneys and prosecutors.
Lavergne was also indicted for the first- degree murder of Lisa Pate, whose remains were found in September 1999 near where he grew up. He also served more than eight years of a 10-year sentence, from February 200 until August 2008 for the aggravated oral sexual battery of an Evangeline Parish woman.
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