Search Intensifies for Missing Louisiana Student

National News

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(LAFAYETTE, La.) — Police in Lafayette, La., are intensifying their search for a young woman who has been missing for four days.

Michaela “Mickey” Shunick was last seen riding a bike home from her friend’s house at about 2 a.m. Saturday, according to police.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Lousiana State Police have joined the search, along with volunteers scouring the area where she was last seen.

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 haven’t turned up any hints about 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.

Instead of celebrating her brother’s graduation on Saturday and her own 22nd birthday on Tuesday, Shunick’s family and friends were hitting the pavement, hanging fliers and searching for clues along the route they believe she last traveled.

Her parents say she is an avid cyclist, so for Shunick to be riding her bike at that hour was not unusual.  They do say that their daughter would never disappear for days on end like this.

“We want our daughter back — that will make everything better,” Nancy Rowe, Shunick’s mother, told ABC News.

Police say the search is particularly difficult because the area they are searching is so large.

“It’s a very wide scope for us to look at,” Cpl. Paul Mouton said to KATC.  “We’re canvassing and checking a lot of different businesses for video evidence.”

Shunick, a senior anthropology major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is 5 feet, 1 inch tall and 115 pounds.  She was last seen wearing a pastel multi-colored striped shirt, light-wash skinny jeans and gray shoes.  She also reportedly always carries a can of mace with her when she rides her bike.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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