Two bodies in suitcases were found in a ditch in southeastern Wisconsin; however, three weeks later police were still having difficulty cracking the bizarre case. However, on Thursday, according to ABC7, Steven Zelich was arrested and charged in the case. Zelich was a former police officer who worked for the West Allis, Wisconsin police department just outside of Wisconsin.
Zelich was appointed to the position of patrol officer in February of 1989 for the West Allis police department, he resigned from the department in August of 2001. Some sources of Fox6 Now say Zelich’s resignation came under suspicious circumstances.
The arrest came after police in suburban Milwaukee removed a refrigerator from Zelich’s apartment and inspected bags and boxes full of potential evidence. Thursday morning they charged 52-year-old Steven Zelich with hiding of corpses in suitcases. One of the victims names has been released as 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Farmington, Minnesota. Simonson, the mother of seven children, was last seen alive at this Rochester motel. According to Captain John Sherwin of the Minnesota Police Department:
At this time Zelich did confess to being involved in Laura’s death here in Rochester.
More frightening and gruesome details about the case were also released. The murders were quite disturbing with apparent sexual torture and binding. Simonson had rope wrapped around her neck, had a sexual ball gag strapped into her mouth with a collar and was naked. The second body, victim’s name yet to be released, was partially concealed in black plastic garbage bags and had her hands bound with rope behind her back. Court records indicate that Zelich has admitted to both of the killings.
A Fox6 Now reports that Zelich had a dark sexual side that police are also investigating in connection to the murders. Investigators say they are looking into Zelich’s profile on a sexual fetish website called “CollarMe.” Using the name “Mr. Handcuffs”.
His profile says he is actively seeking submissive women. The profile further states: Seeking a 24/7 slave for absolute ownership. There is nothing better than a slave tied tight, gagged, blindfolded, hooded.
Prior to police finding and identifying Simonson’s body, someone posted an add to a free classified listing stating:
Steven Mark Zelich is a sadist who has enslaved a petite female named Laura Jean Simonson. He keeps her naked, handcuffed, shacked and caged.
Police attributed the post to one of Simonson’s family or friends who knew about the slave situation. However, police have yet to release who posted the ad.
Star Tribune says that the incidents were no recent and that Both bodies were badly decomposed. Zelich also told investigators he hid one for about a year and a half, moving it between his home and vehicle before dropping it on the Wisconsin roadside.
Zelich also told police that be met both victims online. Sgt. Lee Hollatz said, “I saw Laura as a vulnerable adult because of things in her life that she was dealing with.” Laura’s father confirms stating Laura had a history of mental illness and was known to post escort ads on Craigslist.
Zelich will be arraigned for a bail/bond hearing in court on Friday at 1:15 p.m.