Not only will Lavergne be facing an indictment for the first-degree murder of Michaela “Mickey” Shunick, but also the first-degree murder of Lisa Pate, an unsolved case from 1999 with Acadia Parish ties.
A Lafayette grand jury found sufficient evidence to proceed with both first-degree murder charges against convicted sex offender Lavergne, 33, of Swords.
The grand jury consisted of six men and five women with at least nine agreeing there was sufficient evidence to formally charge Lavergne in the cases.
The case of Shunick has been well documented. The 22-year-old University of Louisiana at Lafayette student who went missing in the early hours of May 19 while riding her bicycle along Lafayette roads, but the 1999 case of Pate was a cold case that saw new life quietly breathed into it with the formal charges.
On the evening of Sept. 21, 1999, skeletal remains of a female were found in on Brigman Highway between the communities of Prudhomme and Pitreville, located in the northern part of Acadia Parish.
Discovered by the home’s renters about a month after moving in, Pate was identified through the work of Louisiana State University anthropologist Mary Mayheim and her team.
The renters, Guy Landry and a companion, stumbled upon the remains after deciding to explore the back yard that evening. There Landry found three boards. He told police he moved the first board to investigate and found a human skull.
A week later, anthropologists at a LSU forensic lab positively identified the remains as Lisa Pate, 35, of Youngsville.
Pate was reported missing in June 1999 from the Lafayette area.
Instrumental in the identification were dental records that were believed at first to be from a female between the ages of 25-30.
Then Acadia Parish Sheriff Ken Goss believed the case a homicide and said that due to way the body was discovered, it was believed the body was dumped.
“Now that we have a positive identification we can go from here,” said Goss after Pate’s remains were identified.
The case would go cold almost immediately, however.
It is known that Lavergne was raised by adoptive parents in Church Point and at the time of Pate’s disappearance he had family living in the area.
Fast forward almost 13 years, a new connection was made and Lavergne now faces the two first-degree murder charges.
Maxine Trahan, spokesperson for the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office, declined to answer questions about the Pate case. Only saying that she was instructed to refer questions to District Attorney Mike Harson.
While Pate’s case was cold for nearly 13 years, Shunick’s case did not see much time cold, merely weeks in the middle of the disappearance and Lavergne’s July 5 arrest.
Shunick disappeared about 2 a.m. May 19 while riding her bicycle near downtown Lafayette. The police obtained surveillance video from City Hall on St. Landry Street that showed Shunick on her bike riding toward St. Mary Boulevard followed shortly by a white Chevrolet Z71 pickup.
The police say that truck belonged to Lavergne.
Days after the photo of the truck appeared Lavergne’s truck was reported stolen in Montgomery County, Texas. On May 31, it was found in San Jacinto County, Texas, burned.
Meanwhile, Lavergne bought a nearly identical truck in Lafayette on June 4.
As police continued their search for Shunick, her bicycle was discovered at the Whiskey Bay exit off of Interstate 10 on May 26. The bicycle, as Police Chief Jim Craft would later explain, had damage to its rear wheel consistent with being struck by a vehicle.
After his arrest, news was released by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office that Lavergne visited Ochsner Hospital on Jefferson Highway seeking treatment for non-life-threatening stab wounds to the chest, back, neck and hand on the evening of May 19.
Lavergne claimed that between 3 and 3:30 p.m. May 19, he stopped at an unknown gas station in New Orleans to ask for directions. He told police that a white man with a gold teeth and wearing a black hat and Saints football jersey attacked him and stole his wallet containing his driver’s license and $40.
Lavergne was initially arrested on July 5 for an outstanding warrant for tampering with his driver’s license in an attempt to hide the fact that he was a registered sex offender.