Police: West Allis man confesses to being involved in corpses fo - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Police: West Allis man confesses to being involved in corpses found in suitcases

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WEST ALLIS (WKOW) -- West Allis police say the man arrested this week in connection with a Minnesota woman's death was a former West Allis patrol officer who resigned 13 years ago.

Police Chief Charles Padgett said in a statement Thursday that 52-year-old Steven Zelich was appointed to his position in 1989. The man worked for 12 years and resigned in 2001.

The statement doesn't elaborate on why the man resigned. Padgett says he's not at liberty to release further details.

The man was arrested Wednesday on charges of hiding a corpse. 

Two female bodies were found in separate suitcases on June 5 in the Town of Geneva, some 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. Police identified one victim as a 37-year-old from Farmington, Minnesota. They're still trying to identify the other. 

Police in Rochester, Minnesota say Zelich has confessed to being involved in the deaths of the two victims.

Laura Simonson disappeared last November after checking into a hotel in Rochester. After police found evidence in Zelich's West Allis home Wednesday, police questioned him about Simonson's death.

"At this time, Zelich did confess to being involved in Laura's death here in Rochester," said John Sherwin of Rochester Police Department.

A criminal complaint says Zelich told police he met her in 2012 or early 2013, and during that meeting killed her. He has been hiding her body ever since. 

He's due in court Friday.


ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- The West Allis man arrested in connection with human remains found in two suitcases is being held in the Walworth County Jail.

   Walworth County Circuit Court officials say the 52-year-old man is expected to appear in court Friday. He's being held on two counts of hiding a corpse.
   The county's district attorney, Daniel Necci (NEE'-see), says formal charges are not expected Thursday because he hasn't yet received the case from investigators.
   The private security officer was arrested Wednesday when detectives wearing hazmat suits removed bags of evidence and a refrigerator from his suburban Milwaukee apartment.
   Authorities say the remains of 37-year-old Laura Simonson, of Farmington, Minnesota, and another unidentified female were found June 5 in two suitcases discarded along a rural road in the Town of Geneva.

WEST ALLIS (WKOW) --- The Walworth County Sheriff's Department says Steven Zelich of West Allis is booked in jail on two counts of hiding a corpse.

Zelich will not appear in court Thursday.

Zelich was arrested at his West Allis apartment Wednesday.  Our affiliate WISN says the arrest is in connection to the bodies found inside suitcases on the side of the road in the Town of Geneva in early June.

Officials identified one of the bodies Wednesday as Laura Simonson of Minnesota.  We are following up on more about her.

Officials are also asking for help in identifying the second woman from the suitcases. 

They describe her as possibly Caucasian, between the ages of 15-35, 5'2" to 5'4", weighs 120-140 pounds, long dark hair, an overbite, two ear piercings, and a heart tattoo on the lower left abdomen.
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