Dateline NBC’s podcast, ‘After the Verdict: Missing Mickey,’ focuses on the investigation into the disappearance and murder of Michaela “Mickey” Shunick in May 2012. The young woman was abducted while returning from a friend’s home by Brandon Scott Lavergne, who killed her after a struggle. The podcast features Mickey’s sister, Charlene “Charlie” Shunick, who led the search efforts for Mickey and became the family’s spokesperson at the time. So, let’s find out more about her then, shall we?
Who is Charlie Shunick?
During the early hours of May 19, 2012, Mickey Shunick disappeared while she cycled back home. Soon after, the Shunick family’s lives changed forever. They couldn’t celebrate Mickey’s 22nd birthday or her brother’s graduation; all they could do was search far and wide for Mickey, with Charlie spearheading all of it. Apart from holding candlelight vigils and offering a tip, Charlie started a Facebook campaign to raise awareness regarding the case.
Charlie enlisted volunteers to help with the search and gave multiple interviews to local radio and television shows to keep the story alive. As time passed, the possibility of Mickey being dead seemed inevitable, but Charlie and the family held out hope. When her bike was found on May 28, Charlie said, “We didn’t get the bad feeling in the pit of our stomachs like, ‘Oh, my God, this is terrible.’ It was more like, ‘Oh, my God, finally we found something of Mickey’s.’ And we realized that someone definitely took her, and this was planned out … whoever has her is thinking about these things.”
At the time, Charlie believed that if someone abducted her sister while she was conscious, they were sure to end up injured. The authorities eventually found out that was precisely what happened. Brandon Scott Lavergne was arrested in relation to the case, and it was later revealed that Mickey fought back and stabbed him several times during a struggle. Even after Brandon was indicted for murder, Charlie and the family held out hope for Mickey being alive.
In July 2012, Charlie said, “The odds do not seem to be in our favor, but as I have said before, until I am standing over the casket at the funeral, there will be hope that she could possibly be out there. If he is responsible or involved in some way, all we want is for him to tell us where Mickey is so we can bring her home.” Unfortunately, Brandon killed Mickey that night and eventually buried her close to a cemetery, where the authorities found her decomposed remains on August 7, 2012.
Where is Charlie Shunick Today?
Charlie Shunick’s experience trying to look for her sister gave her the idea to start the Resource Association for Missing People. She founded the nonprofit organization in September 2013 with the hope of helping families and loved ones of people who were missing. Apart from raising public awareness, RA for Missing People aims to provide resources and support in addition to anything else that’s required to help bring the missing person home.
Charlie has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 2013, she obtained her Master’s degree in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience from The University of Texas at Dallas. Currently, she lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is the