Wisconsin man in custody in connection with bodies found in suitcases

MILWAUKEE Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:17pm EDT

Laura Simonson, 37, is pictured in this handout photo provided by the Farmington Police Department, June 25, 2014. REUTERS/Farmington Police Department/Handout via Reuters

Laura Simonson, 37, is pictured in this handout photo provided by the Farmington Police Department, June 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Farmington Police Department/Handout via Reuters

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MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A Milwaukee-area man was taken into custody on Wednesday in connection with the deaths of two women whose bodies were found in separate suitcases along a rural road earlier this month, authorities said.

Steven Zelich, 52, of West Allis, just south of Milwaukee, was taken into custody three weeks after the suitcases were found in a grassy ditch, Town of Geneva Police Chief Steven Hurley said in a statement.

Police were conducting a search on Wednesday of Zelich's apartment in West Allis, authorities said.

One of the victims was identified as Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minnesota, who was reported missing in November, Hurley said. The other woman has yet to be identified, he said.

The suitcases were moved out of the ditch by a highway department crew that was cutting grass on June 5 in the town, which is 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Milwaukee, police said.

Police opened the suitcases and found the bodies after a caller alerted them to the suitcases, authorities said.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Eric Beech)

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