[Editor's Note: This story has been altered to reflect that Bourriague says she is uncertain what type of cut was on Lavergne's neck, saying only that it could have been made by a knife.]
Brandon Scott Lavergne’s last hair appointment with Holly Bourriague was June 20, one month after 21-year-old Mickey Shunick went missing. The stylist noticed a cut on his neck that she says appeared to be a knife wound.
|This mugshot from the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center shows what appears to be
a scar healing on Lavergne's lower right neck.
“It kind of looked like he would have gotten stabbed or something,” says Bourriague, who works at a salon in Crowley. “It looked like it had been the size of a knife [cut],” though she said she could not be certain what type of cut it was. Bourriague says she could not tell how old the wound was but does not remember noticing it before.
A registered sex offender living in Swords, Lavergne, 33, is accused of kidnapping and killing UL Lafayette student Mickey Shunick, who went missing in May 19 while riding her bike from Ryan Street downtown to her parents’ home near Ambassador Caffery Parkway and Congress Street. Lavergne’s mug shot does show what appears to be a cut to lower right side of his neck, but police are not commenting on whether they believe there was any kind of struggle between Shunick and Lavergne. The St. Landry Parish sex offender database mentions other scars on Lavergne but nothing about a scar on his neck.
Police have not even indicated why they believe Shunick is not alive.
Police say Lavergne burned the white pickup truck allegedly used in commission of the crime; the same truck that was captured by a City Hall camera near St. Landry Street and University Avenue about the time Shunick was also photographed on her bike. The case against Lavergne goes before a grand jury July 18.
The Independent interviewed Bourriague Monday by phone, her voice cracking several times as she related Lavergne’s last visit to her salon on June 20 and the plans the two made for what would have been their first date when he returned from his offshore job. Bourriague says Lavergne was not a regular customer. Over the past three years she estimates she cut his hair five times.
“He did call me the night after I cut his hair on his way to Venice. He had been calling me,” she says. “He called me numerous times on his way to Venice that night.”
“He said, ‘I’ll call you in two weeks when I get back in. Maybe we can do something.’ Well, the day he was expected to come back was the day he got arrested.”
In addition to the phone conversations they had, he also left a voice message, she says. She still has the recording.
To say Bourriague was shocked to hear of Lavergne’s arrest would be an understatement. She says Lavergne could be very charming, joking and flirting while she cut his hair. “He’s even mentioned before he goes to church on Sundays. I never would have thought he would be capable of this. Calm, just sat in my chair and we laughed,” she says. “He has braces on his teeth right now, so we were kind of laughing about that.”
Bourriague says Lavergne’s brother also is a customer of the salon and that Lavergne would talk about his family. The brothers seemed to have been close, she recalls, although they did not come into the salon together. “Brandon said they have a lot of get-togethers. He said I’ll call you if we get together again. They seemed like good people.”
The stylist says Lavergne first tried hooking up with her when she started working at the salon three years ago. “I had just gone through a divorce so I just blew him off.” She says the flirtation continued on subsequent visits (unbeknownst to the stylist, Lavergne is believed to have had a girlfriend and may have been recently engaged). “He sat in my chair and he was like, ‘have you and that guy ever tried working it out?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said well I find it very funny a pretty girl like you is still single and he kept going on and on and on.”
Bourriague was cutting a customer’s hair on July 5 and, she admits, waiting for Lavergne’s call when she got the news.
“When I heard the news I was cutting someone’s hair. Someone had told me earlier that day that they had found somebody. I was like, ‘Oh, good.’ I had been keeping up with the Mickey case. I even went to the Blackham to bring them a case of water. I did everything I could to try to help.
“A guy walks in and says, ‘Did you hear that they finally caught the guy?’ He said ‘his picture is even on the [news].’ I said, ‘Well, what’s his name?’ And he said ‘Brandon.’ And I’m just making a joke out of it cause I was waiting for Brandon to call me when he got back from work and said, “Huh, it better not be Brandon Lavergne.’ He turns, he looks at me, he said, ‘Brandon Scott Lavergne?’ and shows me his picture. I dropped my scissors, I dropped everything I had in my hand and ran outside. I was shaking so bad. I still cannot believe it, I’m still in shock.”
“I didn’t know he was a sex offender,” Bourriague says. “I didn’t know any of that. I’m most shook up that he sat in my chair. He hugged me before he left the shop. That could have been me. I cannot even sleep at night.
“I’m glad an arrest has been made,” Bourriague continues, now barely able to get her words out. “My prayers are with the Shunick family.”