Wisconsin ex-cop accused of hiding womens’ bodies in suitcases
A 52-year-old Wisconsin man is in jail on $1 million bond after reportedly admitting to killing two women, then stuffing their bodies into suitcases, but he has not been charged with murder yet, WTMJ-TV reported on Friday.
Instead, former police officer Steven M. Zelich was arrested on Wednesday and accused of hiding the corpses of 37-year-old Laura Simonson and a second, unidentified woman. Zelich allegedly kept the two bodies in his apartment in West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee, before putting them into the suitcases and dumping them along the side of the road in Geneva, about 50 miles away.
Walworth County District Attorney Daniel Necci told WTMJ that he expected homicide charges to be filed against the suspect in both Geneva and Minnesota.
“He has confessed to causing the deaths of the two individuals whose bodies he hid here in Walworth County,” Necci said. “I believe that severity requires a severely high cash bond to ensure his appearance in court.”
The Associated Press reported that Zelich allegedly met both women through adult-oriented dating sites, including a November 2013 encounter with Simonson at a hotel in Rochester, Minnesota. The other encounter is believed to have taken place in late 2012 or early 2013 in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.
Police documents in Walworth County said Simonson’s nude body was found with a rope tied around her neck and a gag in her mouth. The other woman’s body was found with her hands tied behind her back.
“It could be anything from premeditated homicide down to accidental death that occurred through a consensual sex-related act,” Zelich’s attorney, public defender Travis Schwantes, told the AP.
The AP reported that Zelich worked as an officer in West Allis from February 1989 until August 2001, when he resigned following allegations from a prostitute that he tried to stop her from leaving his home.
Watch WTMJ’s report on Zelich’s appearance in court, as aired on Friday, below.