Steven Zelich remains quiet in court, bond set at $1 million dollars



WALWORTH Co. (WITI) — Steven Zelich made his first appearance through a video monitor in jail Friday, June 27th, but prosecutors say they can't charge him with murder, yet.

The lawyer for a former police officer suspected of killing two women and hiding their bodies in suitcases says the deaths may have been accidental.

Zelich was ordered held on a $1 million bond Friday after being charged with hiding a corpse. Walworth County prosecutors won the high bond after arguing that they expect homicide charges to be filed in the counties where the women were killed.

Zelich is also ordered to not have contact with the victim's family, and cannot use the internet.

But Zelich's public defender, Travis Schwantes, says it's unclear whether the women died during accidents, perhaps during consensual sex.

Schwantes says the 52-year-old Zelich is cooperating with investigators and likely wouldn't oppose extradition to the other counties.

Despite admitting to the crime, District Attorney Daniel Necci says Walworth County can only prosecute Zelich with two counts of hiding a corpse. The bodies of Laura Simonson, and a yet to be identified woman were found in separate suitcases, left on a the side of the road in the Town of Geneva -- but Necci doesn't believe they died there.

"There is no territorial jurisdiction for Walworth County to file homicide charges in this case.  We are working closely with folks from Minnesota and Kenosha counties," said Necci.

The defense attorney for Zelich declined to comment. Meanwhile, FOX6 spoke with Town of Geneva Police. They say they are working on identifying the second woman, and are comparing dental records.

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