Missing Minn. woman's body found in suitcase, Wis. man arrested - KMSP-TV

Missing Minn. woman's body found in suitcase, Wis. man arrested

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Laura Simonson Laura Simonson
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (KMSP) -

Authorities in Wisconsin have taken a 52-year-old man into custody after the bodies of two women were found in suitcases near Milwaukee earlier this month, including a missing woman from Farmington, Minn.

The gruesome discovery was made by a highway worker who was mowing the grass on a rural road about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee near the town of Geneva, Wis., on June 5. He called police after realizing that the two suitcases had corpses stuffed inside, and police ordered autopsies to determine who the victims were and how they died. On Wednesday, officers announced West Allis resident Steven Zelich is now in custody in connection with the death investigation. Reports suggest Zelich may be a former police officer.

"There's a lot of people in back of that apartment building that have like HAZMAT uniforms on or something," neighbor Ron Loos said. "Nobody's talking about what happened over there."

Officials also identified one of the victims has been identified as 37-year-old Laura Simonson, who was reported missing by her mother on Nov. 22, 2013. The Facebook page for the non-profit LostNMissing Inc. said that Simonson was considered a possible vulnerable adult and had health issues when she vanished on Nov. 2.

Simonson reportedly parked her van at her mother's home in Farmington and was not seen after that. Since Simonson had homes in St. Paul and Farmington, relatives were not initially concerned when they had not seen her in several days; however, when she had not contacted them before the Thanksgiving holiday, they reported her unusual absence to police.

It is believed that Laura Simonson was last seen alive in Rochester, Minn., back in November. A local television station in Rochester is reporting that crime scene investigators scoured a motel there just a couple of weeks ago in connection with the killings.

POLICE SEEK HELP IDENTIFYING 2ND VICTIM

The second body recovered still has not been identified, and police described her in the following way in the hopes that a member of the public might be able to tell them:

- Possibly Caucasian, between the ages of 15-25
- Height of 5'2 or 5'4 weighing 120-140 pounds
- Straight dark brown or black hair
- Pronounced overbite and crooked lower teeth
- Two piercings in each ear
- Quarter-sized heart tattoo on left lower abdomen/pelvic area

MINNEAPOLIS FBI AMONG AGENCIES INVESTIGATING

The West Allis Police Department is assisting in the investigation, and the following agencies are also involved in the ongoing case:

- Town of Geneva Police Department
- Walworth County Sheriff's Office
- Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI)
- State of Wisconsin Crime Lab
- FBI Milwaukee
- FBI Minneapolis
- Rochester Police Department
- Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Police insist that there is no current danger to the public, and they intend to release more updates on the investigation as it becomes available. Anyone with information is urged to call 262-248-9926. Anonymous tips can be submitted via e-mail online.

Tips can also be submitted by calling Walworth County Crime Stoppers at 262-723-2677 or by sending a text of the tip to "CRIMES," beginning the message with tip4wc followed by the information.

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