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"My sister didn't get to live her life and he got to live his:" Sister reacts to solved cold case

Posted at 9:58 PM, Oct 22, 2019

OZAUKEE COUNTY — Traci Hammerberg was killed near Grafton in 1984. Tuesday, investigators told TODAY'S TMJ4 they finally tracked down the man responsible using DNA and ancestry websites.

That man is Phillip Cross, who died of a meth overdose in 2012.

It took 35-long years, but Lorri Sell, Hammerberg's sister, can now find closure. She only wishes her sister could've found justice.

"I was mad that I did not get to say my peace and he didn't punished at all for it," Sell said. "I'm very upset with him."

Ozaukee County sheriff's deputies finally identified cross as the suspect, thanks to forensic science.

"My sister didn't get to live her life and he got to live his," Sell said.

Deputies told TODAY'S TMJ4 he wasn't considered a suspect in the case until months ago when DNA traced to a second cousin matched Cross'. The DNA was found in GEDmatch, a Florida-based open data personal genomics database and genealogy website. After identifying a second cousin, data was traced back to Cross.

"Because it was a second cousin, it didn't take as much work," said Carolin Kauten, a Milwaukee-based genealogist.

Kauten is one of a handful of genealogists in Milwaukee. She said more law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of DNA evidence to crack cases; specifically GEDmatch.com.

"Genetic Genealogy" is the same technique police in California used to track down the "Golden State Killer" in 2018. The suspect was linked to at least a dozen murders in 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80's.