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Former West Allis police officer arrested in connection with Town of Geneva bodies

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Former West Allis police officer arrested in connection with Town of Geneva bodies

By Katie Crowther. CREATED Jun 25, 2014 - UPDATED: Jun 26, 2014

UPDATE: Steven Zelich was booked into the Walworth County Jail for two counts of hiding a corpse, according to the Walworth County Sheriffs Office.

Zelich will appear in Walworth County Court at 1:15 p.m. Friday.

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WEST ALLIS - Former West Allis Police Officer, Steven Zelich, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the discovery of two women’s bodies stuffed in suitcases and dumped on the side of a road in the Town of Geneva earlier this month.

One of the bodies has been identified as Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minnesota. Her mother reported her missing last November.

The second victim remains unidentified. Police released a rough sketch of what she might look like. They describe her as possibly Caucasian, between the ages of 15 and 35, between 5 feet 2 inches and 5-4, with long dark hair and an overbite/crooked teeth. She also has a small heart tattoo on her lower left abdomen.

Zelich, 52, lives in a West Allis apartment building at 8011 W. Lincoln Ave. The Walworth County Sheriff’s Department blocked off the area around the building for more than eight hours Wednesday, as they scoured his apartment for clues. They brought out evidence in dozens of brown bags, and also confiscated Zelich’s refrigerator.

The Walworth County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Town of Geneva and West Allis police.

Neighbors say they knew very little about Zelich.

“I rarely ever saw him,” says Felicia Sopa, who lives across the hall. “I sometimes see him leave in the morning, and I don’t think he drives, because he goes out the front door. He really kept to himself.”

“He would never say hi or anything,” adds Kelly Lopez. “We would just see him come in and out.”

A few others remember seeing a small, blonde woman with him. They say she looked like Simonson.  They also say police were at the apartment building earlier this month, to ask neighbors if anyone has seen her.

For people who live here, that’s now more of a scare, than the initial fear they felt when police showed up at their building Wednesday morning with guns drawn.

“I woke up to officers banging on the door across the hall,” Lopez says. “I looked out the window, and they were surrounding the building with their weapons out. I was really scared. I didn’t know what was going on. They told me to shut my door and stay inside my apartment. It makes you think, you never know who your neighbors are.”

Katie Crowther

Katie Crowther

Katie Crowther was born and raised the suburbs of Detroit. She attended John Carroll University, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.