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Sackett Trial: Erin’s whereabouts covered Thursday afternoon

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - A truck matching the description of one belonging to Erik Sackett was featured during testimony Wednesday afternoon in Day 4 of his homicide trial.

La Crosse Police Department Investigator Brooke Pataska detailed movement of the truck via surveillance video throughout June 3 and June 4.

Police believe that Somvilai went missing on sometime late on June 3 or early on June 4.

In her testimony, she showed several pictures showing what appeared to be Sackett's pickup truck early in the morning of June 4.

During her review of the video, Pataska also testified that she saw none of the vehicles belonging to Dr. David Onsrud. The defense has portrayed Dr. Onsrud as a possible alternative suspect in Somvilai's homicide.

On cross-examination, Pataska said that they did not gather any video that may have shown one of Onsrud's vehicles after the morning of June 4. The defense contends that there were possible sightings of Somvilai on June 4 and that Onsrud was a person of interest in her disappearance and death.

La Crosse Police Lt. Timothy O'Neill was one of the people who testified Wednesday afternoon regarding the whereabouts of Erin Somvilai prior to when she disappeared.

When questioned, he spoke about Somvilai spending the night and early morning at the Walmart in La Crosse. He testified about surveillance cameras that show Somvilai at Walmart and at a nearby Kwik Trip Sunday morning.

On cross-examination, Sackett's attorney Christopher Zachar covered text messages that were sent between Erin and her brother Josh Bushek. Bushek later told police of his concern for her welfare according to O'Neill.

Earlier in the afternoon, testimony covered possible routes to and from Runge Hollow where Erin's body was found on June 17.  Investigator Brooke Pataska was questioned on surveillance video that was searched looking for vehicles belonging to either Erin or Erik Sackett.

At the end of formal questioning and cross-examination by the prosection and defense, jurors have the opportunity to ask questions of witnesses.

Several times on Thursday, jurors were given forms to write their questions which were then presented to the judge. After discussions with both District Attorney Tim Gruenke and defense attorney Christopher Zachar, Judge Elliott Levine asked the questions to the witnesses.

The father of Erin Somvilai's next-door neighbor told jurors that he hear a loud thump Sunday evening from Erin's apartment.

James Borden said he heard muffled noises through the adjoining wall between the two apartments late Sunday night. He said it sounded like a piece of furniture being dropped. It shook the floor and startled him as he was trying to go to sleep. He later testified that he heard some muffled movement coming from next door, but didn't hear anything after that.

Sunday is when police believe that Erin disappeared from her home. Her body was found two weeks later.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - An FBI scientist testified Thursday morning that hairs she tested belonging to Erik Sackett did not match any found on the body of Erin Somvilai.

Linda Otterstatter is a physical scientist in trace evidence with the FBI in Quantico, Virginia.

She also compared rope found in Erik Sackett's garage and that was found on Erin's body. She said she concluded that the two were not similar.

She also testified on hairs found on Erin's body. Her comparisons showed that based on her tests, Erik Sackett's hairs did not match those on the body.

Another FBI analyst is also testifying that the two blocks found with Erin were different with the ones found at Erik Sackett's home.


Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard-Social Media Digital Content Manager for WXOW.

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