(LAFAYETTE, La.) — Dozens of people gathered Thursday to ride the route presumably taken by missing Louisiana college student Michaela “Mickey” Shunick when she vanished on her bike last Saturday.
Friends and searchers took to the route at dusk, following the path on which Shunick set out in the early hours of Saturday morning. FBI, U.S. Marshals and local police are involved in the search that they are treating as a missing person case, but have not ruled out foul play.
Shunick, 22, a senior anthropology major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, left friend Brettly Wilson’s house on her bike just before 2 a.m. Saturday after a night out, and hasn’t been heard from since.
“I asked her to be safe … I saw her get to the driveway and that was the last time I saw her,” Wilson said.
Friends and family held a candle light vigil Tuesday night, and announced a reward of $20,000 for tips leading to her whereabouts. Searches by K-9 units, police and volunteers have turned up no hints of what happened, but her family remains hopeful.
“I think she’s OK, I think she’s alive. I think she’s out there,” Shunick’s sister, Charlene, told ABC News affiliate KATC-TV in Lafayette, La.
The FBI, state and local police, and nearly a thousand volunteers are searching Thursday morning, but have found no trace of the young woman. Friends say she wasn’t drinking, and that Shunick was an avid cyclist, so riding her bike at that hour was not unusual.
Shunick is 5-foot-1 and 115 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pastel multi-colored striped shirt, light-wash skinny jeans and gray shoes.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire