Michaela Shunick (Lafayette police photo)
LAFAYETTE, La. (August 10, 2012)—Members of the family of a University of Louisiana-Lafayette student who disappeared in May say they can finally begin to grieve after police positively identified a body they found earlier this week.
Police say a body discovered in Evangeline Parish was that of Michaela "Mickey" Shunick.
Family members said Friday they can begin the healing process now and are asking for privacy from the media.
They say "she deserved a long and happy life filled with love and laughter" but news that the body was Shunick's has proved otherwise.
Shunick was last seen riding her bicycle away from a friend's house May 19, days before she turned 22.
Her decomposed remains were found Tuesday near a cemetery north of Lafayette.
Police said a "credible witness" led them to the spot, but have not said whether that witness was Brandon Lavergne, 33, a registered sex offender who is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in Shunick's death.
He has pleaded not guilty and is held without bond.