Suspect drove to hospital on same day Shunick missing
July 20, 2012
The man arrested in the disappearance of Mickey Shunick drove himself to a Jefferson Parish hospital for treatment of stab wounds on the same day the University of Louisiana at Lafayette student vanished, an official said Thursday.
That news came on the same day other officials made a fruitless search for Shunick at three sites near the home of Brandon Scott Lavergne in St. Landry Parish.
Lavergne was booked last week in Lafayette Parish on counts of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the disappearance of Shunick, who was last seen before 2 a.m. May 19 leaving a friend’s house in Lafayette.
On Thursday evening, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed Lavergne had filed a report May 19 alleging he was the victim of an aggravated assault.
Deputies took the report at Oschner Hospital on Jefferson Highway, said Col. John Fortunato, commander of the public information office.
That report states deputies responded to Oschner Hospital shortly after 10 a.m. May 19 in reference to a man who said he had been stabbed in the chest, back, neck and hand outside of a gas station at 3 p.m. that day.
While the report blacked out the victim’s name, Fortunato identified the victim as Lavergne.
Lavergne told deputies that he was driving around in an unfamiliar area when he pulled his vehicle into an unknown gas station to ask for directions when he was approached by a white male wearing a New Orleans Saints football jersey and a black hat that covered most of his face, the report says.
The man then attacked Lavergne without warning by stabbing him several times before he stole his wallet, which contained his driver’s license and $40 in cash. Lavergne said he then drove himself to the hospital, the report says.
The deputy wrote that Lavergne could not recall any information about the location where he was attacked, nor was he able to provide any information when asked about nearby street names, building shapes, landmarks or significant structures or any other identifiable features of his surroundings, the report says.
Lavergne told the deputy he was in town visiting a friend and that he planned to return home once he was released from the hospital, the report says.
The deputy wrote that the more questions he asked Lavergne, the less he began to provide.
Medical staff told deputies that Lavergne was allowed to leave the hospital because his injuries were nonlife-threatening, the station said.
The deputy passed along the information to a detective and advised the detective that Lavergne “was not being cooperative, and that he was providing limited information.”
Lafayette Police Cpl. Paul Mouton said the task force assigned to Shunick’s case “is aware of the incident,” although he could not provide further details.
Earlier Thursday, investigators responded to a rural area in St. Landry Parish near Lavergne’s home after a farmer had reported a possible grave site on the edge of woods near his fields off U.S. 190 between Opelousas and Eunice.
St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said his office received a tip from the farmer Wednesday night.
During a Thursday morning search of the fields, investigators found two other sites that appeared to be possible graves, Guidroz said, adding that each mound was about 6 feet long and 3 feet wide.
A four-hour search of all three sites concluded about 10 a.m. and turned up nothing, Guidroz said Thursday morning.
“We are back to the drawing board,” he said.
Lafayette police have said Lavergne was initially developed as a suspect after investigators received a tip June 14 connecting him to a white Chevrolet Z71 truck seen on surveillance video traveling in the same direction as Shunick near downtown Lafayette.
Lavergne’s truck was reported stolen in Texas and later found burned on May 31, a few days after police released a video image of the vehicle, police have said.
Investigators also have information linking Lavergne to the area under the Interstate 10 Whiskey Bay Bridge where Shunick’s bicycle was found May 26, Police Chief Jim Craft said at a news conference last week.
A grand jury is set to meet Wednesday to consider first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping charges against Lavergne, 33, an offshore worker.
Lavergne is a registered sex offender who served eight years on an aggravated oral sexual battery conviction for tying up, blindfolding, then sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in Evangeline Parish in 1999.
He was released from prison in 2008.