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Ex-officer charged in sex-date death

Posted: August 6, 2014 at 5:20 a.m.

KENOSHA, Wis. — A former Wisconsin police officer killed a 19-year-old college student from Oregon during a choking game that went too far, hid her body in a suitcase she took to their sex date and then kept her body in his refrigerator for months, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

Steven Zelich, 52, of West Allis was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the 2012 death of Jenny Gamez from Cottage Grove, Ore. Zelich also is a suspect in the death of a Farmington, Minn., woman.

The women’s bodies were found in June in suitcases left along a rural highway about an hour southwest of Milwaukee. According to court records and testimony, Zelich told investigators that he met the women online, killed them accidentally during dates for sex and hid their bodies until they began to smell. Then he dumped them on the roadside.

Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Zapf said he chose to charge Zelich with the most severe crime possible because he didn’t believe the deaths were accidents.

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