NEW INFORMATION: Foster mom recalls Oregon woman found in suitcase

By: AP and WTMJ-TV Email
By: AP and WTMJ-TV Email

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. (AP) -- The foster mother of an Oregon woman whose remains were found in a suitcase dropped along a rural road in Wisconsin says she hadn't heard from her foster daughter for more than a year.

Lorraine Ericksen, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, told The Associated Press on Monday that she's been in shock since police came to her house Friday to look at hair samples.

Wisconsin authorities say Jenny Gamez is the second of two women whose bodies were found June 5 in Town of Geneva, about an hour southwest of Milwaukee. A 52-year-old security officer has been arrested in connection with their deaths.

Ericksen says Gamez was an upbeat teenager who had a hard time after giving up her son to his father several years earlier.
----------------------------------------------
Previous stories:

ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin authorities say they've identified the second of two women whose bodies were stuffed in suitcases found along a rural highway as a 19-year-old Oregon woman.

Police identified the woman Monday as Jenny Gamez, of Cottage Grove, Oregon. Local investigators say she disappeared in 2012.

The suitcases were found on June 5 in the Town of Geneva, Wisconsin. Police Chief Steven Hurley says Gamez had told her family she was moving, so they didn't realize she had disappeared.

Walworth County Undersheriff Kurt Picknell says Gamez was identified with dental records. He declined to say how investigators made the link between the remains found in Wisconsin and her disappearance.

Investigators have charged 52-year-old Steven Zelich with two counts of hiding a corpse in the case. Authorities say he met both women online.
----------------------------------------------
ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities in Wisconsin have confirmed that a missing Oregon woman is one of the two people whose bodies were found stuffed in suitcases and dumped along a rural highway.

Jenny Gamez, of Cottage Grove, disappeared in 2012. Officials confirmed at a news conference in Elkhorn that the remains were hers. Based on a criminal complaint, she would likely have been 19 when she died.

Steven Zelich, a 52-year-old security officer, was arrested last week and charged with two counts of hiding a corpse after highway workers found two suitcases with human remains. They made the grisly discover while cutting grass in Walworth County, Wisconsin, about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee.

The other body was identified earlier as Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minnesota.
-------------------------------------------------
TOWN OF GENEVA, Wis. (WTMJ) -- Police have identified the second victim found inside the suitcase left on the side of the road in the Town of Geneva.

The woman has been identified as Jenny Gamez, 21, from Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Gamez was identified through forensic dental records.

The investigation into her death is now being turned over to the Kenosha Police Department.

Police said they do not know why Steve Zelich dropped the suitcases in the Town of Geneva.

The investigation is ongoing.
-------------------------------------------
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- A body found in a suitcase discarded along a rural highway in Wisconsin may be that of a missing Oregon woman.

KEZI-TV reports that police in Cottage Grove, Oregon, are looking into whether the body belongs to Jenny Gamez, who disappeared in 2012.

Cottage Grove police Cpl. Conrad Gagner tells the television station his department is working with Wisconsin authorities to obtain Gamez's dental records.

A former Wisconsin police officer was arrested last week and charged with hiding a corpse after two bodies were found in suitcases in Walworth County, Wisconsin. A criminal complaint says 52-year-old Steven Zelich met the women online, killed them and hid their bodies for months.

A Walworth County prosecutor says he expects homicide charges to be filed where the women were killed.


WEAU 13 NEWS 1907 S. Hastings Way Eau Claire, WI 54701 By Phone: Main Number (715) 835-1313 and (715) 832-3474. Tip Line (715) 839-WEAU - (715) 839-9328 Sports Line (715) 852-1537
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 265215391 - weau.com/a?a=265215391
Gray Television, Inc.