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Friday, 27 June 2014 00:00

Former cop gets $1 million cash bond in corpse-hiding case

Written by 
Steven M. Zelich Steven M. Zelich

ELKHORN--A West Allis man charged with hiding the corpses of two women in suitcases that were left along a rural road in the town of Geneva made his initial court appearance via a video conference today, and is being held at the Walworth County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.

Steven M. Zelich, 52, of West Allis was arrested Wednesday in connection with the bodies of two women found stuffed into suitcases on N. Como Road in the town of Geneva, and discovered by a highway worker June 5. Zelich was taken into custody on Thursday.

 Police identified one victim, Laura Jean Simonson, a 37-year-old Minnesota woman who had been living on and off in Farmington, Minnesota since Nov. 1, 2013, according to the Pioneer Press, a Minneapolis newspaper.

 Simonson was reported missing by her mother on Nov. 22.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the second victim has been identified, but her name has not yet been released, and that authorities believe she was killed in Wisconsin.

 On Wednesday, investigators from the town of Geneva and the city of West Allis police departments, as well as Walworth County sheriffs, swarmed Zelich’s apartment, a building in the 8000 block of W. Lincoln Avenue in West Allis.

 Criminal investigators, some wearing hazmat suits, carried dozens of brown paper bags of material and even a refrigerator from Zelich’s apartment , loaded items into a crime scene vehicle.

 The scene was eerily reminiscent of the 1991 crime scene investigation of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s Milwaukee apartment.

 According to WTMJ-4, one of Zelich’s neighbors reported seeing him about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, leaving for work.  Police had earlier checked with the apartment residents, asking if any knew about Zelich.

 A Chicago TV station story said residents reported police using a battering ram to break down Zelich’s apartment door Wednesday morning.

 Details about Zelich are still unfolding.

 Zelich is a licensed private security officer and a former West Allis police officer.

 The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story ties a cell phone number for Zelich to an online discussion board titled, ìMasterB Slave Club.î

 An anonymously-posted ad also appeared on SecondCityClassifieds.com  after Simonson disappeared, saying she was being enslaved and tortured by Zelich, the Journal Sentinel story reported.

 

 

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