I love Wisconsin, we have all four seasons, sometimes in the same week. We have great people, history, and sports. We also have a lot of people who have murdered. Today is another person who has committed murder, and even has a moniker, The Suitcase Murderer. Let’s talk about Steven Zelich.
The case takes place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Here are the basics and I’ll try to give you as much information as possible.
The two victims were found bound in suitcases on the side of the road. In 2014, police responded to a call that workers had found two suitcases on the side of the highway, in Walworth, Wisconsin. Each suitcase had the body of a female. Both showed signs of decomposition indicating that they had been dead for a long period of time.
- But didn’t I just say Milwaukee? Yes, I did, however the victims were found about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. They may have been found in Walworth, but they were killed somewhere else.
One of the victims was found with a rope wrapped around her neck, a ball gag strapped to her mouth, and a collar around her neck.
- Steven Zelich was heavily involved in the BDSM (and I’m not saying this is bad, if it’s your choice absolutely do what you like with consenting adults, just be safe). He had posted online advertisements looking for a “perm enslavement.” The victim, Laura Simonson, had responded to the ad.
Laura Simonson, was identified by her dental records, and was a mother of 7 children. Steven had admitted to speaking to both Laura and Jenny online. Jenny, who was not identified right away had started speaking with Steve in 2012. Laura in 2013.
- Steven admitted to meeting Jenny in person in 2012 and after “causing her death” he put her in a suitcase. He had met with Laura in November of 2013, and after meeting he had also “caused her death.” Both women were put into suitcases, and eventually were kept in the trunk of his car.
The women were from out of state, and not immediately reported missing.
- Jenny’s family was in Oregon, and they had last seen her in 2012. She had stated at that time that she would be moving, and had not been reported missing. Eventually after her body was discovered, a sketch was released and her family and friends were able to identify her; her identity was confirmed by dental records.
- Laura was from Minnesota, and was reported as missing by her mother around Thanksgiving in 2013. She was considered a “vulnerable adult” and had a history of mental illness. Her father had custody of her seven children as of 2010. A friend of Laura, had posted on the same site that Laura had met Steven and it stated that Laura was being enslaved, tortured, and abused. The friend had provided Steven’s cell phone number and email address for people to “harass” him about Laura’s location and to free her. His profile name on the website called “collarme” was “mrhandcuffs”.
- Why might you ask? That’s because Steven, was a former police officer with the West Allis Police Department. He was an officer from 1989 until his resignation in 2001. The resignation was prompted by an internal investigation that found he stalked women while on duty and used his position to get access to their personal information. He resigned to avoid discipline and pass state background checks, so that he could then become a licensed private security officer.
How did Steven become a suspect in the murders?
- Because Laura’s family had filed a missing person’s report for her, she was easily tracked to a hotel that showed her check in under her own name, with a man, later identified as Steven Zelich. Security video showed Steven leave the next day, but Laura was not seen leaving the hotel. Local police suspected Steven Zelich from that time on. West Allis police had gone to Steven’s apartment but found no signs of Laura. Steven Zelich remained number one suspect.
Steven had plead guilty to the murder of Jenny Gamez in 2016, he received 35 years imprisonment. In February 2017, he was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of Laura Simonson. And then another 10 years for the charges of hiding of corpses in October of 2017.
Stay Curious my Friends!