Sources with knowledge of the investigation involving Brandon Scott Lavergne, the 33-year-old convicted sex offender who faces a grand jury Wednesday, tell The Independent he was also treated for his May 19 injuries at Opelousas General; among the most serious was a lacerated finger requiring surgery. Lavergne was arrested July 5 for the aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder of 21-year-old UL Lafayette student Mickey Shunick. Shunick was last seen in the early morning hours of May 19 riding her bicycle in the downtown Lafayette area.
A City Hall security camera captured Shunick on her bike at 1:48 a.m. May 19 on St. Landry Street near University Avenue, about the same time a white Chevrolet Z71 was caught on tape at the intersection traveling in the same direction. Lafayette police say that truck was driven by Lavergne, whom they contend later set fire to it in San Jacinto County, Texas, within days of the images being released to the public. Sources say the fire burned so hot that the entire truck was consumed in flames, destroying most — if not all — potential evidence in the case. Police have not said whether they were able to collect any evidence from the truck.
Our sources would not confirm information we received that Lavergne rented a car for his return trip home after telling his insurance company that his truck had been stolen. What is known is that once he returned home, Lavergne purchased another white Chevrolet Z71 from Don's Wholesale in Lafayette to replace the one destroyed by arson.
The Independent reported last week that on the same day Shunick went missing, Lavergne was treated at Ochsner Hospital in the New Orleans area. He had been stabbed several times in the chest, back, neck and hand with a “knife/cutting instrument,” according to a report on the incident by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Lavergne told the deputy who interviewed him at the hospital
that he was attacked outside of a gas station when he stopped to ask for directions but would not, or could not, provide any details about where the supposed incident occurred.
On Sunday The Independent learned and later confirmed with sources close to the investigation that Lavergne also went to the emergency room of Opelousas General, which is nearer his home in the Swords area of St. Landry Parish. Our sources say doctors at the hospital performed surgery on his finger, and note that at the time Lavergne also was suffering from an extensive breakout of poison ivy. It’s unclear if he went to the Opelousas hospital immediately after returning from New Orleans and whether he was treated on a single visit. It is worth noting that, depending on a person's sensitivity, poison ivy breakouts can begin to appear within a few hours of contact with the plant.
While police believe Shunick is not alive, they have not said how they think Lavergne killed her, all of which means they will seek to get an indictment Wednesday without a body.
Citing privacy laws, an Opelousas General official would neither confirm nor deny that Lavergne sought treatment there for his injuries.