By Heather Miller
When investigators searched Brandon Scott Lavergne’s truck after his arrest on July 5, they found a white envelope with a cell phone number written on it. According to court documents, the cell phone number was that of UL student Mickey Shunick’s mother, and the only fingerprints found on the envelope belonged to Lavergne.
The envelope found in Lavergne’s truck the day he was arrested in connection with Shunick’s murder, along with records that show Lavergne had used the Internet on his iPhone to search for updates on the Shunick case, are some of the new details that have emerged following District Attorney Mike Harson’s decision to open up 218 pages of Lavergne’s case file today for media viewing.
Lavergne, the 33-year-old convicted sex offender who pleaded guilty in August to killing Shunick in May and Lisa Pate of Youngsville in 1999, was first reported to police May 28, when the father of Lavergne’s then fiancee contacted police because he was suspicious of Lavergne’s behavior. He and another family member noted that Lavergne drove a white Chevrolet Z-71 truck and had not driven it since police released photos of a white truck that could be connected to Shunick’s disappearance.
Her family also found it strange that Lavergne had purchased a new truck, later learned to be purchased from Don’s Wholesale in Lafayette, that was identical to the white Chevy truck Lavergne drove before Shunick disappeared.
When the father of Lavergne’s ex-fiancee met with police, he told them that on May 20, the day after Shunick went missing and Lavergne was treated for stab wounds at a New Orleans hospital, Lavergne and his fiancee went to her father’s house, where Lavergne “took the shirt he was wearing at the time of the stabbing and threw it in a dumpster on [his girlfriend’s father’s] property.”
“His daughter advised that he threw the shirt in the dumpster so it would not smell the house trash can,” court documents state. “He felt this was strange because who would request to bring a shirt back from the hospital in New Orleans and bring it back to Crowley to throw away.”
Court files also reveal that one employee at Don’s Wholesale recalls Lavergne “becoming nervous when she began to talk about the Shunick case.”
“He seemed to be in a rush after he observed that the news had new information regarding [Mickey],” the file states.
According to the case files, an Austin, Texas, woman interviewed by FBI agents on July 12 was carrying Lavergne’s baby at the time of the questioning. She told investigators that “Lavernge told her a story that he picked up a woman in her 50s who was hitchhiking in Beaumont, Texas, and she ran from his truck in Round Rock, Texas.”
The age description and story about where Lavergne picked up a hitchhiker match with a driver’s license that was found in Lavergne’s home.
Among the 47 pieces of evidence LPD sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab was one blue earring collected from the intersection of St. Patrick and St. Landry streets on May 30, 11 days after Shunick was last seen riding her bike along St. Landry Street a little before 2 a.m.
The password for Shunick’s email account was changed on May 21.
Since his arrest, numerous women have come forward with stories about Lavergne and his aggressive behavior toward women, though it was not public before now that the aggression and sexual assaults carried over to Lavergne’s female family members as well. A first cousin interviewed by police during the investigation says Lavergne, while attending a funeral for her and Lavergne’s godmother, “jumped on top of her while she was lying in a bed in the hotel she was staying in, and he then attempted to force his hands down her shirt.”
“She tried to force him off of her, at which time he grabbed her hand with one of his hands and used his other hand to continue forcefully trying to reach down her shirt,” court documents state. “She stated that other women in their family also feel the same way about not wanting to be around Brandon for fear of his aggressive tendencies towards women.”
A similar account came from the same half-sister in Conroe, Texas, who assisted Lavergne in renting a vehicle after he burned his truck in Montgomery, Texas and watched her half-brother take a long knife he had stored in her house and place it in the rental car before his return home. That sister told investigators that during a 1999 visit with Lavergne while he was stationed at Fort Polk, “he attempted to have sex with her and she was seven months pregnant.”
His ex-wife recounted for police the occasion on which Lavergne accused her of cheating on him, “and as punishment he urinated in her mouth and made her ingest his urine.”
But other women interviewed by police say they never knew the angry, aggressive Lavergne that so many others have described. One female inmate currently serving a prison sentence in St. Gabriel for armed robbery was contacted by Lavergne shortly after her arrest made the news in Jefferson Parish. She says the two became friends after he wrote her, and “he would visit her regularly when he was in from offshore.”
“She stated that he was very religious, and would often quote bible passages and chastise her for her lesbian lifestyle. She confirmed that Brandon Lavergne takes care of her financially while she is in prison ... Lavergne will deposit money into [an] account, which she can use to communicate with Lavergne through email. She advised that she was made aware of his arrest on Friday, July 6. She was getting ready for visitation ... she was awaiting Brandon Lavergne to visit her on this day,” court documents state.
Read more on Lavergne here and here.
Check back with IND Monthly Friday for new details from Lisa Pate’s file.