Tammy Stutes and her 15-year-old daughter Meredith knew Shunick for eight years. Meredith and Shunick both trained at the Willow Oaks Equestrian Center near Duson. Meredith began attending the facility when she was only seven years old.
“Mickey and I had a connection when working together,” said Meredith, who is a freshman at VC.
“She was patient to teach me, and I was eager to learn. I will dearly miss these special moments I have had with Mickey,” she added.
“Everything she did, she did with pride. She could brighten your day with a simple smile. Every time I was around Mickey I was always inspired to become a better person. Mickey is a great role model and someone I will always look up to.” While the searches were taking place, Meredith did her best in getting the word out by social media.
“I will remember what an amazing person she was and how she was always so happy,”said Meredith. I have never once seen her upset. If there was a problem at anytime, Mickey never had worries because she always looked at the brighter side of the situation.”
“This is a traumatic event for everyone to go through, especially a 15 year old,” said Tammy.
Shunick went missing when her family reported it on May 19. Not long after that, to help create awareness Tammy put up poster, handed out flyers and had t-shirts made for employees at both locations of her businesses. Shunick’s bike was found near Whiskey Bay on May 26. On June 14, police received a tip that a white pick-up truck registered to Brandon Scott Lavergne may have been involved in Shunick’s disappearance.
On July 5, Lavergne was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping of Shunick.
On Aug. 9, forensic experts used dental records to confirm the remains found in a grave two days earlier are of Shunick.
The Stutes watched and waited like many others in Acadiana hoping it would not be Shunick the police located. But then the news came back that it was her. Despite it being a week later, the Stutes are still having a hard time with it.
The posters in the Cashways’ Pharmacies came down last week.
“Though the hope of her still being with us physically is over, she will always be an inedible part of our hearts,” said Tammy.
“Finding Mickey has given us a sense of closure. We will now be able to move forward with peace knowing she is at rest. “ said Tammy