Oregon woman is second 'suitcase' victim

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Margaret Plevak | June 30, 2014

ELKHORN—The second of two women whose bodies were found stuffed inside suitcases and left along N. Como Road in the town of Geneva has been identified as a 21-year-old Oregon woman, according to local authorities Monday.

Jenny M. Gamez of Cottage Grove, Oregon was identified through forensic dental records, said Walworth County Undersheriff Kurt Picknell, during a press conference Monday afternoon in the lobby of the Walworth County Sheriff's Office in Elkhorn.

The bodies of two women were discovered inside suitcases by a Town of Geneva police officer after a highway worker found the cases on the side of the road while preparing to cut grass.

A former West Allis police officer, Steven Zelich, was arrested at his West Allis apartment last Wednesday, and was charged with two counts of hiding a corpse. Zelich is currently in the Walworth County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.

The other victim was identified last week as Laura Simonson of Rochester, Minnesota.

Both Picknell and Town of Geneva Police Chief Steven Hurley said the investigation into the deaths of both women remains ongoing, so few details were available at this point, including the manner of deaths of the victims, whose bodies were found bound.

Picknell said Gamez's case will be turned over to the Kenosha Police Department.

Picknell, who described the suitcases as “standard size,” said both bodies were found intact.

Hurley said he's found no particular reason why the suitcases were left on Como Road.

“We can't find any ties or connections between Steven Zelich and the town of Geneva or Walworth County,” Hurley said.

Picknell said Zelich is in a segregated cell at the Walworth County Jail.

“He has not been an issue or a problem,” Picknell said.

Picknell said no timelines have been established as far as extraditions for Zelich.

A preliminary hearing for Zelich is scheduled for July 3.

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