Law enforcement officials have confirmed that the body found in one of the two suitcases discarded on a rural Wisconsin highway earlier this month is that of a missing Oregon woman, the Associated Press reports.
Officials confirmed at a news conference in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Monday that the remains were that of Jenny Gamez, from Cottage Grove, Oregon. Gamez went to high school in Oakridge, Oregon, and would have been 19 when she died, according to KVAL TV in Oregon.
An officer with the Cottage Grove Police Department told KEZI-TV in Oregon that officials were working with police in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to obtain dental records of Gamez from her dental clinic in Cottage Grove.
Gamez disappeared in 2012, but she was not officially reported as missing because her family thought she was moving, according to Town of Geneva Police Chief Steven Hurley, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
The investigation into her death has been turned over to the Kenosha Police Department because she is believed to have been killed there, officials said.
Gamez's remains, as well as the remains of Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minnesota, were discovered on June 5 by highway workers cutting grass along a highway about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. Simonson, who was reported missing in November, was identified by authorities last week.
Steven Zelich, a 52-year-old security officer from West Allis, Wisconsin, was charged Thursday with two counts of hiding a corpse. Bond was set at $1 million for Zelich, who is accused of putting the two bodies in separate suitcases.
Prosecutors say Zelich kept the suitcases hidden for months before dumping them along the rural Wisconsin road, WISN-TV reports.
According to KEZI, Zelich's lawyer said the deaths may have occurred accidentally during consensual sex. Authorities say Zelich met the victims online. Simonson was found naked with a rope around her neck and a ball gag in her mouth; and Gamez was found naked with her hands tied behind her.
KEZI reports that investigators told Gamez's stepmother that sexually deviant content was found on Gamez’ computer.
The Associated Press says Zelich has not yet been charged in their deaths.
The criminal complaint in the case says Zelich is believed to have killed the first victim in late 2012 or early 2013, in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, and the second in Rochester, Minnesota, in November, the Star Tribune reports.
Rochester police believe Simonson was the second victim because she checked into a hotel in the city with Zelich on Nov. 2, and that Zelich left alone the following day, the paper says.
Asked Monday whether authorities believe there are other victims, Walworth County Undersheriff Kurt Picknell said: "I think we leave that question wide open for right now," according to the Journal Sentinel.