Lafayette cyclist never makes it home, community search party seeks answers

Monday, May 21, 2012 - 11:42pm

What started out as a normal night out on the town has turned into a living nightmare for the family and friends of a 21-year-old woman from Lafayette. A massive search party began this morning to find clues as to what happened to Mickey Shunick, a cyclist who was last seen at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 19.

“The first thing that raised a red flag for us is when she didn’t show up to her brother’s high school graduation on Saturday,” Ashley Says, a close friend of Shunick who helped organized the search party, explained. “She had been looking forward to that for weeks, so there’s no way she would have missed that.”

It all started as a typical night out. Shunick went to a local club on Friday, May 18 to watch a concert with friends. At around 1:00 a.m. she left the venue with a friend, had a bite to eat, then rode off to go home for the night. But she never made it there and hasn't been seen since.

“We all know it’s dangerous to ride at night, but it was something she loved,” Says explained. “She’s not a rebel. She always has a can of mace in her front pocket, she obeys all traffic laws. She loved to have fun, but she’s really responsible.”

When Shunick’s family had not heard from her all day on Saturday, they began to worry. They started off by calling around to hospitals. When that failed to provide results, they went to the police.

“We went to the police department to file a report,” Says recalled. “At first we were told that there was nothing we could do until Monday. My friends and I said that this isn’t something that can wait until Monday, so we started sharing pictures of her on Facebook. We had friends make flyers and it’s been blowing up on Facebook.”

Although the story is being rapidly shared, little information has resulted via the social media outlet. That prompted the group to put boots on the ground and form a search party.

“We organized a search that started at 10:30 this morning,” Says noted. “We went to the house of the person who she was last with, and about 50 people ended up in his front yard to help look for her. They were on bikes, in cars, and walking on foot all over.”

The search party has covered the streets of Lafayette looking for any clues as to what happened to Shunick.

“We started on her normal bike path,” Says explained. “Then we went into the neighborhoods and started knocking on doors. We’ve gone to the local pawn shops to see if anyone tried to pawn her bike. We’ve asked local shops in the area if they may have caught her on surveillance cameras. We have people out right now at Cajun Field because the UL softball game is going on today, so we knew there would be a lot of people out there. We have people handing out flyers there to see if anyone knows anything. We’ve really tried to think of every possibly scenario.”

Currently the family is at the Lafayette Police Department providing information that will help detectives continue the search. Although they’ve had some leads throughout the day, none have proved too lucrative.

“I notice there’s anxiety in the air about it all,” Says explained when asked if about the mood of other cyclists’ who ride in the area at night. “The thing about cyclists is that they’re stubborn and they’re going to do what they love.”

That stubbornness, however, is what Says hopes will ultimately help bring her best friend home to her friends, family, and animals she cares for.

“She’s a horse enthusiast,” Says noted when asked about Shunick’s personal interests. She really just loves life and all animals. She had about 16 pets – a pig, snake, and tarantula. She just loves everything. She loves life. She’s a great person, and we’re all just trying to keep positive thoughts.”

Shunick’s home is located near the intersection of Congress Street and Ambassador Caffery Parkway. She is 5’1”, about 115 pounds, and has blond, curly hair. She was riding a black and gold bike. She was wearing a bright, multi-colored shirt, grey acid washed skinny jeans

“Mickey’s description is so unique,” Says added. “She has the blondest hair you’ve ever seen and she wears really exuberant clothing. She’s hard to miss.

“I hope we find her soon,” Says continued. “She’s the best friend anyone could ever have. This is just not something you think would ever happen.”

If you have any information regarding Mickey Shunick, please call the Lafayette Police Department at (337) 291-8600.

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