Search for missing Lafayette woman continues
By jason brown
July 11, 2012
It’s now more than a month since 22-year-old Mickey Shunick was last seen riding off on her black Schwinn bicycle.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette student vanished May 19 shortly before 2 a.m. after she left a friend’s house at 100 Ryan St. in Lafayette on her way to her parent’s home about five miles away. Her family reported her missing that afternoon.
Shunick’s disappearance led to a groundswell of community support, prompting large, volunteer-driven search efforts and an outpouring of donations. People gave up their weekends for the search while others spread the message online by linking to a Facebook page dedicated to finding Shunick. National media outlets covered the story, bringing Mickey Shunick’s face and story to audiences across the country.
Despite the attention and the searches, the petite blonde’s whereabouts remain unknown.
“The community response is still beyond strong, people are still active online, and coming to headquarters for information and fliers everyday,” Shunick’s older sister, Charlene “Charlie” Shunick, wrote in an email June 26: “Donations are still coming in and people are still doing benefits. The love and support is still, as always, extremely, overwhelmingly beautiful and great.”
Over the past few weeks, the volunteer search effort has been scaled back, the sister said.
“The last couple of weeks we have been letting the police and the private investigator kind of do their things,” Charlie Shunick wrote.
The volunteer headquarters has since moved from Blackham Coliseum to a new location in a shopping center on Johnston Street.
“Currently the volunteer search efforts consist of people spreading the word like we were doing in the beginning,” Charlie Shunick wrote. “We laminate everything at the headquarters now so that it will last.”
The group has focused on making business cards, shopping cart fliers, half-fliers, door knob hangers and posters for bars and restaurants, she said.
“We are asking that the foot searchers who still want to help come in small groups and put fliers around the city, parish, state, and any state or country they go to on vacation,” Charlie Shunick wrote, adding that she hopes Mickey’s information can be spread across the country, especially along the coast from Florida and the southern United States to California.
“We basically want every single inch of the world to be covered with Mickey’s face, although we realize that is not actually possible, it is the mind-set we are working with,” Charlie Shunick wrote.
The image of Mickey Shunick being circulated through fliers and online is of a smiling young woman. She was an avid cyclist and an animal lover. Friends have referred to her as a “ray of sunshine.”
Lafayette police spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton stressed on June 27 that the department’s investigation has by no means stopped.
A mini-task force composed of area law enforcement agencies continues to sort through tips in the case, Mouton said.
Meanwhile, the lead investigator has received some information from Louisiana State Police Crime Lab regarding Shunick’s bicycle, which was found submerged in the Whiskey Bay area May 27. That information is not being released at this time, Mouton said.
Jason Brown covers police and court news for The Advocate’s Acadiana bureau. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.