On June 30, police identified the decomposed corpse of the second female’s body found stuffed into a suitcase which was discovered last month in a rural Wisconsin roadside ditch, as 21-year-old Jenny Gamez of Cottage Grove, Oregon. The young victim was identified through her dental records.
According to a June 30 report from USA Today, police say that the murder suspect in custody, Steven Zelich, a 52-year-old former cop from Milwaukee, admitted to killing Gamez and another female, 37-year-old mother of seven children, Laura Simonson, of Farmington, Minnesota. Zelich reportedly met both of his victims through an online sadomasochistic / bondage website. Zelich was charged on June 26 with two felony counts of hiding a corpse and is currently in jail on $1 million bail. It’s expected that homicide charges against Zelich will be filed in the counties where the two women were killed, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Rochester, Minnesota.
On June 5, the two female bodies were found jammed into two separate suitcases in Geneva, Wisconsin, a quiet town that runs along the shores of Lake Como about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee, when officers working with the Geneva Police Department were helping cut some tall grass in one of the town’s rural ditches. Police won’t specify the cause of death for either victim but gave grim descriptions of how the bodies were found.
Simonson’s body was “found naked with a rope around her neck and a ball gag strapped in her mouth with a collar,” according to Twin Cities. Gamez’s body was found with her hands tied behind her back. Her body was partly stuffed inside a plastic bag. Zelich reportedly shuffled the two bodies back and forth between his home and vehicle for years.
Zelich had posted an ad seeking "no limit enslavement, imprisonment, captivity, animalization ... ideally in a farm/caged situation."
Gamez was 19 years old when she was murdered. Zelich told police that he met the teen online “in late 2012 or early 2013,” and then killed her shortly afterwards at a motel in Kenosha County. Witnesses at the motel recall Zelich and Gamez being at the motel together, but added that they saw Zelich leaving the motel alone. Geneva Police Chief Steven Hurley said that Gamez was never reported missing. The teen told her family she was moving “and they thought perhaps she was moving on with her life."
Gamez’s foster mom, Lorraine Ericksen, told police that Gamez “had been in foster care with numerous families since she was 5, and was a joy to be around,” according to The Huffington Post. Ericksen said that Gamez moved out of her house in Cottage Grove to be closer to a community college near Eugene. After she moved, Gamez lived with friends and visited her foster family, but eventually fell out of touch.
"I was surprised that I didn't hear from her," Ericksen said. "I knew she spent some time in California with friends, but her friends in Cottage Grove said she stopped texting with them, and after that we could not get in touch with her."
In 2008, Gamez gave birth to a son. According to her foster parents, Gamez went through a rough patch after awarding full custody of her baby to the baby’s father, but seemed to be turning her life around. Ericksen said that her foster daughter had been awarded a college scholarship just before she went missing.