And nothing in the public record shows he was in fact a suspect in the death of a woman more than a decade ago and has been accused at least once of rape.
Lafayette police believe Lavergne is more Edward Hyde than Henry Jekyll, charging him with the kidnapping and murder of Mickey Shunick, who disappeared on her bicycle on May 19.
Lavergne, who lives near here, was arrested on July 5. Authorities continue to search for evidence, including what they believe will be the remains of the ULL coed.
They rushed Thursday morning to the site of mounds that a farmer had tipped St. Landry Parish officials about. The site, near St. Ann’s Church at Swords, turned out to be that -- mounds -- not a newly dug grave.
Shunick’s bicycle was found at Whiskey Bay about 30 miles east of Lafayette several days after her disappearance. Police have not revealed the nature of evidence they say puts Lavergne at that area.
Based on the nature of their searching in and around Lavergne’s property, they appeared to believe Shunick was brought to this area before or after the bicycle was dumped.
The truck they believe Lavergne used on the night in question was reported by him as having been stolen. It was subsequently found burned north of Houston, Texas.
Authorities believe that was an attempt to get rid of incriminating evidence.
The truck being taken to Texas has given rise to a second suspect theory on the part of some observers, who say that accomplice would have given Lavergne a return ride to Swords, but police have said for the record that they believe Lavergne acted alone.
When he bought a replacement truck similar to the burned one has not been revealed.
Lavergne’s run-ins with the law are documented in public and non-public case files in four parish seats -- Evangeline, St. Landry, Acadia and Vernon.
He got a 10-year prison sentence in Evangeline after pleading guilty in a case involving his climbing into a young woman’s room in April 1999, threatening her and forcing her to have oral sex. He served seven years in prison and did three years of successful probation.
At the time, Lavergne was in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Polk. Vernon Parish sources requested anonymity say records indicate he was also accused of, but not arrested or charged with, rape during his time there.
While the Evangeline case was working its way through the system, Lavernge married a woman in Natchitoches in Sept. 1999. They divorced in October 2000, according to records in Opelosuas.
The wife alleged Lavergne at one time tried to smother her and another time hit her in the face and threw her down by the neck.
Also in 1999 the remains of a missing woman were found in an isolated part of Acadia Parish.
Normally reliable law enforcement sources say Lavergne was among persons of interest in that case. Authorities were never able to close the circle of evidence and charge anyone in what was considered by them a homicide.
Current Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Chief Investigator Keith Latiolais said that case remains open but unsolved and could not comment regarding any history of the investigation details.
Investigative files on open cases are not public record. Lavergne has never been arrested on any charges in Acadia Parish, according to the criminal court record.
All of the above is a contrast to the poster-boy behavior Lavergne demonstrated while serving his sentence in the 1999 case.
At his sentencing hearing on Feb. 25, 2000, Lavergne made a statement after sentencing:
“I apologize for any pain I caused my family and any other families in this process. I am truly sorry and hopefully one day can be forgiven.”
To which District Judge Preston Aucoin replied, “Well, I hope so. You are still young and there is still hope. Best of luck to you and I hope everything works out as well as it can under the circumstances.”
Lavergne completed the Sex Offender Treatment Program at C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center and became a tutor for others.
The program is a voluntary one based upon the teaching of 27 risk factors, understanding of how the factors played a role in commission of an offense and learning interventions which can help prevent a repeat offense.
According to Steven C. Brown, program director at Phelps at the time, Lavergne as a peer facilitator “assists inmates who are currently taking the program, by tutoring in course material, and helping students with their workbooks, handouts, videos, etc. He is prompt, reliable and maintains a positive attitude in his work.”
Brown noted in his January 2003 summary that only a small percentage of sex offenders in prison volunteer for the treatment program and an even smaller percentage actually complete it while in prison.
Lavergne’s background and whereabouts are now the subject of close scrutiny by law enforcement agencies and any number of newspaper and television outlets.
On Thursday, the same day as the mounds foray in Swords, KATC-TV reported on Lavergne’s visit to Oschner Hospital in New Orleans on the afternoon of May 19 (day Shunick vanished) for treatment of stab wounds he allegedly received from a stranger at a gasoline station.
He told Jefferson Parish deputies he couldn’t remember where the station was, that he got lost while enroute to visit a friend, and provided no reason for the attack. He also said his wallet, with driver’s license, had been stolen.
The deputy in his report wrote that Lavergne indicated his GPS wasn’t working, and he was driving around in an unknown area, so he stopped at a gas station to ask directions.
The report says that’s when a white male, with gold teeth, a neck tattoo, wearing a #24 Saints football jersey and a black hat covering most of his face, attacked him without warning. He was stabbed several times in the chest, back, neck, and hand.
Lavergne, only minimally cooperative with the deputy, based on the report’s notations, was treated and released
Lavergne’s initial booking mug shot shows what appears to be a recent wound at the base of the right side of his throat.
His case is scheduled to be presented later this month to a Lafayette Parish Grand Jury. Grand jury consideration is required in capital cases.