Steven Zelich, dubbed the Suitcase Killer by the media, was a former Milwaukee police officer who preyed on women he met online. In 2012 he killed 19-year-old student Jenny Gamez, and in 2013 he murdered 37-year-old Laura Simonson.
Both women died in similar circumstances; Zelich met them online, and they agreed to meet up for a sex date. During these dates, Zelich encouraged his victims to indulge in S & M sex games. He bound and gagged the women before choking them to death. He claimed that he killed them accidentally but admitted to losing control.
He met his victims in hotel rooms where investigators believe they died.
Steven Zelich put his victim’s remains into suitcases
Zelich stowed his first victim, Gamez, in a suitcase which he kept in his refrigerator at his home in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis. The following year, after he had murdered Simonson, he put both bodies in the trunk of his car.
Once the weather started to warm up, the bodies began to smell, so he dumped the bodies in suitcases along a remote stretch of highway about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. The bodies were discovered by highway workers mowing grass.
Zelich was tried separately for the murders. He was sentenced to 35 years after being convicted of first-degree murder for killing Gamez. He then pleaded guilty to second-degree murder receiving another 25-years for the Simonson killing. He is required to serve the sentences consecutively.
Zelich had worked for the West Allis Police Department for twelve years but was forced to resign in 2001 when an internal investigation found he stalked women while on duty and used his position to get access to their personal information. He was working as a licensed private security officer when arrested.
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