'Mickey Shunick' Body Is Excavated, Jewelry and Clothing Found

PHOTO: This undated photo provided by the Lafayette Police Department in Lafayette, La., shows Michaela Shunick, who goes by "Mickey."PlayLafayette Police Department/AP Photo
WATCH Mickey Shunick's Body Believed Found

The body that police believe belongs to missing Louisiana student Mickey Shunick was excavated from a remote wooded area along with some clothing and jewelry.

"Right now, the body is in the hands of the coroner's office and forensic experts," Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department told ABCNews.com today. "We feel very strongly that this is Mickey Shunick. We just can't say with 100 percent certainty that it is, in fact, hers."

Mouton said it could take "a day or two" before the body can be positively identified. The body was found in a remote wooded area near a cemetary, about 45 miles from where Shunick disappeared.

"There were some things such as clothing and jewelry that were removed from the site," Mouton said. The site has been fully excavated and the crime scene has already been released, he said.

Mouton said that Shunick's family has not seen the remains or the items that were found, but that police are in "constant contact" with the family.

Shunick, 22, was a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when she vanished on May 19. She was last seen about 2 a.m. riding her bike from the home of her friend Brettly Wilson.

Brandon Scott Lavergne, a registered sex offender, was arrested and charged with Shunick's murder and aggravated kidnapping last month.

Mouton said authorities were directed to the body on a tip, but did not specify where the very detailed tip came from.

"We received credible information as far as where she could be located, off Route 10 in Evangeline Parish," Mouton said. "It was confirmed there was an area where a body was buried off the roadway and beyond a cemetery."

"It was credible information from a credible source," he said, but could not comment further on the tipster.

Mouton said police followed a private road past a small cemetery of about 30 headstones and into a wooded area to the spot where the body was buried.

Shunick's family released a statement Tuesday night saying it is aware of what the police have found and family members are awaiting positive identification.

"It has been, and still is, a long journey in the search to find Mickey, so we truly feel that they deserve some time alone until they are ready to respond to the current rumor," the family's statement said.

The first clue to solving Shunick's disappearance came when her bike was found beneath a bridge at Whiskey Bay on the Atchafalaya River. The location of the bike was more than 25 miles from where she was last seen.

Soon after Shunick's disappearance, police released a surveillance video showing her on a bicycle the night she disappeared as well as of a white pickup truck.

Lafayette Chief of Police Jim Craft said the video led detectives to identify the truck as belonging to Lavergne, and to place Lavergne in the area on May 19.

Police said the rear rim of her bicycle was consistent with being struck by a vehicle from behind.

"Based on the info we have, and the vehicle seen in the area, [we believe] he was riding around, looking for someone to victimize," Craft said at the time of Lavergne's arrest.