Missing Oregon woman's body found in suitcase in Wisconsin

Missing Oregon woman's body found in suitcase in Wisconsin »Play Video
Jenny Gamez

ELKHORN, Wisc. - A former Oakridge High School student last seen in Cottage Grove in 2012 is the second woman found dead inside suitcases in Wisconsin, the Walworth County Sheriff's Office confirmed.

Gamez went to high school in Oakridge. She was last seen in Cottage Grove in 2012. 

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Authorities would not comment on what led them to request dental records from Cottage Grove Police for Jenny Gamez.

Oakridge High school counselor Tammy Scott said she worked very closely with Gamez. She said Gamez lived a complicated life, bouncing in and out of foster homes in Lane County.

"I think she probably thought that she might find someone who would love her and would possibly be fooled by someone," Scott said. "I think she could have been a really good victim for someone who was looking for a victim."

Investigators announced the news on Monday.

"Second victim identity has been confirmed through forensic dental records as Jenny M. Gamez from Cottage Grove, Oregon," said Kurt Picknell with the Walworth County, Wisc., Sheriff's Office.

Road worker cutting grass about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee found the bodies inside two suitcases along a rural road on June 5.

Police were first able to identify 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Minnesota, who was reported missing last November.

Gamez took longer to positively ID.

"Jenny was not officially reported missing. That's what took a little while," said Chief Steven Hurley with the Geneva, Wisc., Police Department. "She had told her family she was moving, and they had thought perhaps she was on with her life, so there are still a few questions as to the exact time frame."

According to information in a criminal complaint, Gamez would have been 19 when she died.

Investigators last week arrested Steven Zelich, a 52-year-old security officer, and charged him with two counts of hiding a corpse after highway workers found two suitcases containing human remains.