Investigator explains why officials believe boyfriend is only suspect in homicide case
LA CROSSE, Wis. — Police have made an arrest in the investigation into the homicide of a La Crosse woman, whose body was found in a Vernon County lake in June.
Erik Sackett, 38, of La Crosse, is expected to be formally charged Friday with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Erin Somvilai, who went by her maiden name Bushek.
Somvilai was first reported missing in early June when she hadn’t been heard from for several days. Nearly two weeks after she was reported missing, her body was found by a fisherman in Vernon County.
“When Erin’s body was recovered, it was noted that she had rope around the midsection of her body. That rope was connected to concrete blocks,” La Crosse police Capt. Shawn Kudron said.
Investigators took that as a sign that someone meant to conceal her body and the matter turned into a homicide investigation.
“As we proceeded in the death investigation jointly with Vernon County [Sheriff’s Department], that led us to believe that her death occurred in La Crosse County,” Kudron said.
Officials declined to say where in the city of La Crosse they believe she was killed but said those details will be released in the criminal complaint. The criminal complaint should also detail exactly what circumstances surrounding Sackett lead investigators to believe he was involved in Somvilai’s death.
“As we began to look into the statements that he made, as well as information that others were providing, we believe that he was not being truthful in everything that he was telling us,” Kudron said.
The investigation is still ongoing as officials wait on some evidence to be processed.
“We also extracted a lot of data from cellphones. So we’re still working on not only getting that information back but just interpreting that information,” Kudron said.
Due to the other evidence and information gathered, the department firmly believes Sackett is the only suspect.
“Investigators worked tirelessly on this investigation, reviewing hundreds of hours of video surveillance, serving search warrants, conducting interviews. And, again, extracting information from cellphones. With all of that information, we have cause to believe that Erik Sackett is responsible for Erin Somvilai’s death.”
Sackett has a criminal record going back to 2004, when he pleaded guilty to a battery charge. In 2012, he was found guilty of attempted second-degree sexual assault, battery and criminal damage to property.
WKBT-TV spoke to a neighbor who said that he wasn’t necessarily surprised that Sackett could have been involved, but was shocked to hear what he is being accused of in this case.
Sackett is expected to make his first appearance in La Crosse County court Thursday afternoon.
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