Texas Cold Case May Have Links to Brandon Scott Lavergne

State prosecutors are moving forward with their case against Brandon Scott Lavergne. An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 17th. Lavergne says he's not guilty. He's charged with the first degree murders of Mickey Shunick and Lisa Pate. Their deaths are more than a decade apart. Police say this is Lavergne's white pick-up truck seen on surveillance footage the night Shunick disappeared. It was eventually found burned in San Jacinto County, Texas. And that's what caught the attention of a private investigator working a cold case in the area. He's now looking into Lavergne's past.

On April 26th, 2010, 15-year-old Ali Lowitzer went missing near her home in Spring, Texas. She seemed to have vanished without a trace and since then, no clues to her whereabouts have surfaced. But, the Lowitzer family's private investigator, Mac Sanford, seems to think Lavergne may be connected. And it all surrounds Lavergne's white pick-up truck.

For two-and-a-half years, the Lowitzer family has wondered what happened to their daughter. She vanished while walking to work and no evidence has surfaced since. John Lowitzer, Ali's father told Eyewitness News Wednesday, “Nobody knows anything. People don't just disappear, so that's been the most frustrating.”

But the family's private investigator thinks a new door has opened. Shunick's alleged killer, Brandon Laverge's truck was found burned in a neighboring county to Spring, where Ali went missing.

“The second I read his truck was found in San Jacinto County, Texas, my blood went cold,” said Sanford. “And I immediately started digging for information out of it.”

That was a red flag for Sanford because in the days after Ali went missing, two separate tips came through, which reported a white truck pulled over where Ali was walking. “They were saying without a shadow of a doubt, they knew it was Ali once they saw all the missing fliers,” said Sanford. “And that they saw a white truck with an extended cab, a domestic truck trying to coax and girl on the side of the road.”

And one of those tips identified the first few digits of that truck's license plate number. But after running thousands of Texas plates, none matched up. It wasn't until Lavergne's truck was found burned that Sanford tried Louisiana plates. And what he found, startled him.

“Low and behold, on that hunch, I pulled all the information from the Louisiana DMV on vehicle's Lavergne owned and has owned,” said Sanford. “And at the time Ali went missing, he owned a white, GMC 2005 extended cab truck with the same digits that were mentioned in the tip line.”

Sanford says Lavergne frequented that area of Texas because of family ties. And now he's working on pinning Lavergne to that spot around April 26th, 2010.

Sanford says he's taken all the information to Harris County Police since Ali's case is in their hands. They say they'll continue to investigate any leads that come their way.

-Caroline Balchunas

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