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Disappearance of woman results in murder charge for man

A 33-year-old man listed on Louisiana's sex offender registry has been taken into custody. Criminal charges of first-degree murder of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping have been filed against the man from Church Point, Louisiana. According to the authorities, they believe he is responsible for the disappearance and death of a female college student. Bond for the aggravated kidnapping charge was set at $250,000 while no bond was set for the murder charge.

Despite the murder charge, the missing woman's family and a volunteer team searching for her believe that she is still alive.

The man was arrested when the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Department and Lafayette police were executing a search warrant at the man's home approximately 30 miles away from the location where the missing female was last seen. Some reports say that he was initially arrested on a warrant involving his sex offender registration.

The suspect's history as a sex offender includes a conviction of oral sexual battery in 2000. He was released from prison four years ago. In his listing on the sex offender registry website, it says that he owns a white 2011 Chevrolet Silverado.

According to the authorities, a vehicle believed to belong to the 33-year-old was seen in a surveillance video that surfaced soon after the disappearance of the young woman. In that video, authorities allege that the man was driving a white pickup in the area where the woman was last seen on May 19.

Reports indicate that the college senior was riding a bicycle home after leaving her friend's house around 2:00 a.m. That bicycle was found and damage was done to its rear - authorities believe that the damage is consistent with being hit by a vehicle. A burned-out pickup was discovered on June 14 in Texas. Police are investigating if this vehicle is the same one seen in the surveillance footage.

Authorities did not indicate exactly what evidence led them to believe the suspect actually murdered the college student since there is no report of a body being located. A first degree murder charge can be rather difficult to prove without having the forensic evidence that a body might offer. This story leaves many questions, including the method in which the victim was killed and whether or not there was a confession in order to justify first-degree murder charges.

Source: ABC News, "Mickey Shunick Case: Police Charge Sexual Offender With Murder," Anthony Castellano and Kevin Dolak," July 6, 2012

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