Update: Suitcase suspect, body ID

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Staff | June 25, 2014

TOWN OF GENEVA--A West Allis man was taken into custody today in connection with the investigation of two bodies found stuffed into suitcases alongside the road in the town of Geneva on June 5, according to a news release from the Town of Geneva Police Department Wednesday afternoon.

Police have also identified one of the victims as Minnesota woman, and are asking for the public's help in identifying the second victim, the release noted.  

Steven M. Zelich, 52, of 8011 W. Lincoln Avenue, Apartment 1, in West Allis, was arrested in connection with the investigation, which has drawn in the FBI, crime labs and police departments in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The first victim was identified as Laura Simonson, 37, from Farmington, Minnesota. Simonson was reported missing by her mother on November 22, 2013.

The second victim is described as possibly Caucasian; between 15 to 35 years old; five feet, two inches to five feet, four inches tall; weighing between 120 and 140 pounds; with long straight dark brown or black hair. She is described as having a quarter-sized heart tattoo on her lower left abdomen or pelvic area, two piercings in each ear, and a pronounced overbite and crooked lower teeth, according to the release.

The bodies were found June 5 after members of a Town of Geneva highway crew had discovered the suitcases in a ditch along Como Road while they were preparing to cut grass. One of the crew moved the suitcases to the side of the road to be picked up by garbage men later, but a local resident saw the cases and called the police, who discovered the bodies inside.

Assisting the Town of Geneva Police in the investigation are members of the FBI from both Minneapolis and Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Department of Justice –Division of Criminal Investigations, the State of Wisconsin Crime Lab, the State of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Walworth County Sheriff's Office, and police departments from West Allis, and Rochester and Farmington, Minnesota.

Town of Geneva Police Chief Steven R. Hurley earlier had told residents of Geneva they were not in danger since the  deaths of the two women had taken place elsewhere. In Wednesday's release, he said residents of West Allis also were not in danger.

The investigation continues, and more details will be released as information becomes available.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Town of Geneva Police Department at 262-248-9926. People can also anonymously email tips to https://www.tipsubmit.com/webtips.aspx?AgencyID=1192, text tips to “CRIMES” (274637) and begin the message with tip4wc followed by the tip, or report the tip to the Walworth County Crime Stoppers 262-723-2677 (COPS).  

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