Wisconsin man accused of hiding bodies faces more charges

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 04, 2014 5:16 PM

By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A former Wisconsin police officer accused of stuffing the bodies of two women into separate suitcases and dumping them along a rural road is expected to face additional charges on Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Steven Zelich, 52, is scheduled for an initial court appearance in Kenosha County, one of the two counties where authorities said Zelich told police he killed the women accidentally during sexual encounters.

Authorities believe Jenny Gamez, 21, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, died at a Kenosha, Wisconsin, hotel in 2012 during a bondage session after meeting Zelich online.

The Kenosha County District Attorney's office declined to say what charges it expected to file against Zelich on Tuesday, but confirmed that an initial court appearance was set.

Zelich's lawyer Jonathan Smith said he had not been provided a copy of a criminal complaint and did not know the charges his client would face.

A second women, Laura Simonson, 37, died last November at a Rochester, Minnesota, hotel after meeting Zelich. Zelich had not been charged in Simonson's death as of Monday, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem said.

The suitcases containing the bodies were found in Walworth County, Wisconsin, on June 5. Zelich has been charged there with two felony counts of hiding a corpse.

Zelich is accused of keeping the bodies in the suitcases at his apartment in West Allis, a Milwaukee suburb, and in the trunk of his vehicle before he dumped the luggage.

(Editing by Grant McCool)