Wendel on the Web is WKYC reporter/producer Kim Wendel's "take" and commentary on the news of the day
This definitely needs to be filed in the "you should have known better" category.
The Associated Press is reporting that Steve Zelich, 52, of West Allis, Wisconsin and a former police officer, is being held on a $1 million bond after highway workers discovered two suitcases containing female remains June 5 in Geneva, some 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee.
They traced the suitcases back to Zelich. He is now cooperating with police and authorities in several jurisdictions, including the police force he used to work for in West Allis.
Zelich worked for the West Allis police department from February 1989 until his resignation in August 2001. He now works as a security guard.
I called the West Allis police to ask why Zelich resigned but they did not return my call.
His attorney, appointed public defender Travis Schwantes, says it's unclear whether the women died during accidents, perhaps during consensual sex.
Police have determined that one of the women checked into a motel with Zelich Nov. 22 but only he checked out the next day. Police identified one woman as Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minnesota. Authorities have not released the identity of the second woman.
Zelich's attorney says the consensual sex may have included bondage. Simonson was found naked with a rope around her neck and a ball gag strapped in her mouth with a collar, according to the criminal complaint filed in Walworth County Court, Wisconsin. The other woman's hands were bound behind her back.
Both bodies were decomposed, and Zelich told investigators he hid one for about a year and a half, moving it between his home and his vehicle, according to court records.
He has not been charged with homicide but he admitted to meeting both women online, killing them during their first meetings and hiding their bodies in suitcases, according to the criminal complaint. He eventually tossed the suitcases in high grass alongside N. Como Road outside Geneva during the first week of June, police said, and a highway worker cutting grass found the suitcases June 5.
Court records also show he is linked to a sadomasochistic web forum.
OK, as a former police officer, he knows you have to report even an accidental death. It may have been embarrassing if it happened during bondage but too bad.
What really irks me is that, when the SECOND woman died, likely during bondage, did he even think for a minute about reporting that? And after hiding the suitcases for so long in his house and vehicle, why toss them on the side of a road all of a sudden?
Why am I asking "why" when the man clearly wasn't thinking properly all along?
Not making light of the situation but I can see his likely defense for the deaths during bondage but how in the world can he explain the suitcases?
Follow WKYC's Kim Wendel on Twitter @KimWendel