Detective: Man Said He Killed 2 Women During Sex, Put in Suitcases

Steven Zelich charged with two counts of hiding a corpse

Thursday, Jul 3, 2014  |  Updated 11:30 PM CDT
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Detective: Man Said He Killed 2 During Sex, Put in Suitcases

Walworth County Sheriff's Office

Steven Zelich

A detective in Wisconsin says a former police officer told him that he killed two women during rough sex and then put their bodies in suitcases that he hid for months before dumping them in rural Wisconsin.

Walworth County Sheriff's Detective Jeffrey Recknagel testified Thursday during a preliminary hearing for 52-year-old Steven Zelich.

Zelich is charged with two counts of hiding a corpse after the suitcases were found June 5, about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee.

Walworth County authorities have said the women were killed elsewhere and they expect homicide charges to be filed in those other counties.

Recknagel says Zelich told him he killed the women accidentally after separate sexual encounters that were rough and included bondage.

Zelich's public defender has said the deaths may have been accidents.

Highway workers discovered two suitcases containing female remains June 5 in the Town of Geneva, some 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee.

"It is one of the more horrific crimes I've been involved in," said Geneva Police Chief Steven Hurley, who has worked for 36 years in law enforcement. "It has taken a lot of twists and turns in the past few weeks."

Police identified one woman as Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minnesota. Simonson was found naked with a rope around her neck and a ball gag strapped in her mouth with a collar, according to the criminal complaint filed in Walworth County.

The second woman was identified as Jenny Gamez of Oregon. Investigators believe Gamez was killed in Wisconsin in late 2012 or early 2013, when she was 19.

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