How Charlene Shunick Has Turned Tragedy Into Hope
No one in the family of Mickey Shunick knew that their lives would change forever on May 19, 2012.
On that day, Brandon Scott Lavergne abducted and killed Mickey.
The weekend Shunick went missing, her family and friends launched a Facebook campaign to get the word out that she had not been heard or seen since around 2 a.m. on May 19.
The community of South Louisiana came together in an effort to find the missing young woman. Scores of volunteers donated time, money and energy to the search for the young woman.
The search ended the day Lavergne admitted to authorities that he had repeatedly stabbed and then shot Mickey in the head. He would later lead police to her body.
Following Shunick's death, the family asked for privacy as they needed time to grieve and try to heal. The family also thanked the multitudes of people that came together in the search for their daughter.
One person who was known right away as part of that massive effort to find Mickey, was her sister Charlene. She became the family's spokesperson.
She made herself available to anyone who was working to spread the word of her sister's disappearance.
Charlene tells KPEL that the entire process become a learning experience that she, and other volunteers, are using today in the search for other missing individuals.
Charlene says she has started the organization, Resource Association for Missing People, which they also call RA Missing People.
Shunick says they help families who have missing loved ones even if other entities can't (by policy) or won't (by not understanding) help in the search.
You may not always hear about missing juveniles because they have runaway in the past. Families who have a loved one who has substance abuse issues may have trouble getting a law enforcement agency to launch a search if that person has repeatedly not been reliable, have disappeared for patches of time or who have been known to go away on drug or alcohol benders.
Resource Association for Missing People is there for anyone who has a missing loved one, even if the family has exhausted all of the resources of law enforcement or other agencies.
Shunick says they work with families any way they can to give them more ideas about how to search, how to continue a search and how to get other involved in their search.