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Ex-cop charged in Wisconsin with murder of woman found in suitcase

The investigation of the bodies found in suitcases in southern Wisconsin has been playing out in four jurisdictions.
By Frances Burns   |   Aug. 5, 2014 at 6:14 PM
| License Photo
KENOSHA, Wis., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Steven Zelich, the former Wisconsin police officer charged with dumping the bodies of two women in suitcases, was formally charged Tuesday with intentional murder.

Zelich appeared in Kenosha County Circuit Court.

In interviews with police, Zelich allegedly acknowledged storing the body of Jenny Gamez in his apartment in West Allis, a Milwaukee suburb where he was formerly a police officer. He reportedly denied any intention to kill the women while playing bondage games.

The investigation has been complicated by the number of jurisdictions involved. West Allis is in Milwaukee County, the bodies of two women were found by a road crew in Walworth County in southern Wisconsin. Gamez, 21, who was from Oregon, allegedly died in a hotel in Kenosha, and the second woman, Laura Simonson, 34, at a motel in Rochester, Minn.

Zelich left the West Allis Police Department after being involved in an off-duty encounter with a prostitute. He had been working as a licensed security guard.

He has not yet been charged with killing Simonson. At the moment, he is charged with murder and hiding a corpse in Kenosha County and with hiding a corpse in Walworth County.

Zelich allegedly acknowledged that Gamez was heavily restrained, with a blindfold, ball gag and her hands cuffed behind her back.

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