Police: Unidentified murder victim not from Kenosha


BY JANINE ANDERSON
janderson@kenoshanews.com


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The Jane Doe police believe was killed in Kenosha before her body was left in a suitcase near Lake Geneva is not thought to have lived in the area.

Former police officer Steven Zelich, 52, of West Allis, is charged with two counts of hiding a corpse. He made his initial appearance in court on Friday and his bond was set at $1 million. He appeared on video for the hearing, but did not speak.

Zelich was arrested Wednesday, about three weeks after highway workers discovered two suitcases containing female remains on the side of North Como Road in the town of Geneva.

When deputies opened them, they found the two women’s bodies. One of the women has been identified as Laura Simonsen of Rochester, Minn. The other woman is listed as Jane Doe in the charging documents.

The unknown woman is the one Zelich told detectives he killed in Kenosha.

That body was partially concealed in a black plastic garbage bag inside the suitcase. Her hands were tied behind her back. It was obvious both women had been dead for a long time, according to the criminal complaint.

Began with online chats

Zelich told detectives he started chatting online with Jane Doe in 2012, and that they met in person in late 2012 or early 2013, in Kenosha County. During that meeting, he told detectives, he killed her, then put her body in a suitcase and hid her at his West Allis home. He moved her body to his vehicle in 2014.

Kenosha Police spokesman Sgt. Brad Hetlet said his department is working with other agencies on the investigation to confirm whether the murder took place here, and where within the city it happened.

The woman is not believed to be from the Kenosha area, he said.

Walworth County District Attorney Daniel Necci said he expects homicide charges to be filed where the women were killed. Simonsen is believed to have been killed in Minnesota.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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