Death of Woman Found in Trunk Ruled a Homicide

Erin Ziemendorf died of blunt neck trauma, medical examiner says

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013  |  Updated 10:19 PM CDT
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Man Claims Girlfriend's Slaying Was Accidental

Erin Ziemendorf's body was found in the trunk of a car near a Greyhound bus station.

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A Kenosha man told police he killed his girlfriend during an argument at his home, loaded her body in her car, drove to Chicago, left the vehicle and took the train back to Wisconsin, according to a criminal complaint.

The body of Erin Ziemendorf, 30, of West Allis, Wis., was found stuffed in the trunk of a car outside the Chicago Greyhound bus station on the 500 block of South Jefferson Street. She died of blunt trauma to the neck and her death was ruled a homicide.

Matthew A. McDowell, 40, was charged Tuesday with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. The Kenosha News reports bail was set at $350,000. McDowell faces life in prison if convicted.

McDowell surrendered himself to authorities on Monday, telling them that he accidentally killed his girlfriend during an argument and put her in the trunk before taking a train back to the Kenosha area.

Police say McDowell told them that he and Ziemendorf had been fighting about their relationship and money.

Ziemendorf's photo was released by the family. She leaves behind a 5-year-old son.

"We feel that it is important to show people what a beautiful person she was and put a face to her name," Beth Halloran said in an email to Milwaukee NBC station WTMJ-TV.

West Allis is a suburb of Milwaukee.


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