In May 2012, Mickey Shunick, a young Louisiana student, suddenly disappeared while on her way back from a friend’s place. In the days that followed, the authorities learned she was brutally murdered. The case is featured on Dateline NBC’s podcast ‘After the Verdict: Missing Mickey.’ The investigators used surveillance footage and followed up on crucial tips to eventually find the culprit. So, if you’re curious to find out more, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Mickey Shunick Die?
Michaela “Mickey” Shunick was born to Tom Shunick and Nancy Rowe. The 21-year-old was a senior Anthropology major at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. Loved ones described the young woman as a good and special kid who loved animals. At the time of the incident, Mickey was at Brettly Wilson’s house; they had gone out for the night and had returned to her place. Just before 2 am on May 19, 2012, Mickey decided to cycle back to her place.
Being an avid cyclist, it wasn’t unusual for her to do that, but her sudden vanishing on her way back was. Mickey’s bike was found a few days later under a bridge at Whiskey Bay on the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana. Additional information led the police to the 21-year-old’s decomposed body on August 7, 2012. She had been stabbed several times and then shot in the head. Mickey was buried in a heavily wooded area near a cemetery in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana.
Who Killed Mickey Shunick?
The authorities scoured for surveillance video from the area and corroborated that Mickey left her friend’s house before 2 am that morning. The footage also showed a white pickup truck that appeared to be following her; this eventually led the authorities to the culprit — Brandon Scott Lavergne. The police had received a tip from his girlfriend’s father on May 31, 2012, about his suspicious behavior around the time of Mickey’s disappearance.
A few days later, the police learned that Brandon’s car was found set on fire in Texas, and he bought an almost identical car to replace it. Brandon was a registered sex offender living about 30 miles from Mickey’s abduction. During the inquiry that followed, Brandon revealed what happened that night. He had been driving around calling escort services when he saw Mickey and decided to follow her. The bike’s condition when it was found indicated that it had been hit by another vehicle.
At the time, Brandon urged Mickey to get into his truck. He then threatened her with a knife when she tried to call for help. Mickey sprayed Brandon with mace and fought back valiantly, wrestling the knife away from him and stabbing him multiple times. Eventually, Brandon got control of the blade and stabbed Mickey at least four times, leading her to collapse. Believing that Mickey was dead, Brandon drove deep into a sugar cane field and planned to drag the body into a field. However, Mickey suddenly jumped up and stabbed Brandon in the chest.
At this point, he shot Mickey in the head with a semiautomatic weapon, killing her instantly. First, Brandon drove back home with Mickey’s body in the passenger seat. He treated his wounds, got rid of the clothes and the shell casing, tried to clean the car, and then drove to a cemetery in Evangeline Parish. Brandon’s injuries meant that he could not dig a grave, so he covered Mickey’s body with some debris and branches. After that, Brandon dumped the bike and the weapons before going to a friend’s place. He got treatment for his injuries and initially claimed they resulted from a gas station mugging.
A day later, Brandon returned to the grave site and buried the body. He also admitted to killing Lisa Pate in 1999. It was reported that they stayed together at a hotel for a few days before he refused to let her go to see her kids. Brandon eventually beat her up and later confessed to an inmate about killing a woman by placing a plastic bag over her head. When Lisa’s body was discovered in September 1999, there were signs of a plastic bag around her skull. He was indicted in July 2012. In August 2012, Brandon pled guilty to killing the two women and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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