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Serial murder suspect linked to 1997 murder in Columbus, Ga.

7:04 PM, Jun 19, 2003   |    comments
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COLUMBUS, GA -- Six years ago, 26-year-old Tracy Hambersham went to a party with her friends at Fort Benning. She disappeared and was found two days later. Her murder case went cold. Investigators in Georgia have been working on the case since 1997. They had no suspects and no leads. It didn't bring closure for the Habersham family. Law enforcement agencies in Florida and Georgia came together through the link of one man and several samples of DNA. Tracy Habersham was last seen September 19, 1997. It was a Friday night with friends at Fort Benning's NCO club. She disappeared and was later found in a ditch. "My roommate had taken the dog out and came back to the house all hysterical. [She said] 'I found a body, I found a body'," said Michael Polson, found Habersham's body in 1997. At the time, Paul Durousseau was in the Army stationed at Fort Benning. He had already been under watch by Columbus police for sexual assault and kidnapping. He was later acquitted in court. There were still no leads in Tracy's murder. "It's the kind of case where there are very few leads. The victim was who you would not expect this to happen to. She pretty much kept to herself and was always in constant contact with her family," said Lt. Vince Pasko, Columbus police. The case went cold until Jacksonville police began searching Columbus murder profiles similar to the five Jacksonville women killed. Columbus police had a DNA sample of Durousseau taken off of Tracy's body. A match was made. Lead detectives in Columbus now had their suspect and a face-to-face encounter. "He loves playing mind games. When we came down there and informed him his little game was over, it was a great feeling," said Detective Bill Griffis, Columbus Police. The Georgia police department has passed over their case information to two agencies in two different states -- Louisiana and California. These are places where Durousseau lived. The murder case in Georgia will be held until the five murder cases in Jacksonville are prosecuted. Reported by Jennifer Brice. Related articles: - State Attorney to seek death penalty for serial murder suspect - Changes in background checks to be made after arrest of serial killer suspect - Durousseau's court appearance delayed - Family distraught after Durousseau's arrest - Suspect arrested in connection to five First Coast murders

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