Shunick's Body Released To Family - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Shunick's Body Released To Family

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LAFAYETTE, La. – According to the Lafayette Parish Coroner's Office, the body of Mickey Shunick was released to her family late Monday night.

The family of a university student who went missing in May says they can finally begin to grieve after police positively identified a body they found two weeks ago.

Police say the body discovered in Evangeline Parish was that of Michaela "Mickey" Shunick. Recently, her family said they can begin the healing process now and are asking for privacy from the media.

They say "she deserved a long and happy life fill with love and laughter" but news that the body was Shunick's has proved otherwise.

Former Fort Polk soldier Brandon Lavergne was charged with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder in her case and with the murder of Lisa Marie Pate in July 1999.

On Aug. 17, Lavergne pleaded guilty to charges that he murdered Shunick and Pate.

Lavergne pleaded guilty in exchange for life in prison. They said he was also required by police to show them where he buried Shunick's body, and to recreate the actions he took the night of May 19 when she disappeared while riding her bike.

According to court documents, Lavergne said he hit Shunick's bike with his truck and persuaded her into his vehicle. He said she sprayed him with pepper spray, grabbed his knife and stabbed him several times, inflicting what were described as "life-threatening cuts." Lavergne said he grabbed the knife back and stabbed Shunick four times, until she fell over.

Lavergne said he thought Shunick was dead, and took her to an Acadia Parish cane field. There she jumped him and got the knife back, stabbing him in the chest. Lavergne then said he shot her in the head, killing her instantly.

Pate was found murdered in July 1999. A grand jury earlier indicted Lavergne for first-degree murder in both killings.

According to court documents obtained by our sister station KATC-TV, Lavergne persuaded Pate to leave Lafayette with him in June 1999. When Pate wanted to return, she attempted to steal Lavergne's wallet and keys, but was caught and was severely beaten. Lavergne choked Pate with a plastic bag over her head, and then tried to hide her body in a house belonging to his acquaintance.

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