Two Women Found Dead In Separate Storage Units Connected To Same Suspect, Police Say
A 40-year-old man has been linked to two missing women whose bodies were found in separate storage units in Minnesota, and he is charged with murder in one of their deaths.
Police believe that two Minnesota women who were found dead in separate storage units are connected to the same accused killer.
On June 30, 2023, Joseph Jorgenson, 40, was charged with second-degree murder for the killing of Manijeh “Mani” Starren, 33, reported the Associated Press. Starren and Jorgenson had been in a romantic relationship, and her dismembered body was discovered in a storage unit in Woodbury, Minnesota in June.
Starren’s father had reported her missing, and she had not been seen or heard from since April 18. As police investigated her disappearance, they found surveillance footage that showed Starren running from her apartment as Jorgenson chased her. According to a probable cause affidavit shared by PEOPLE, the footage showed that Jorgenson then “grabbed her, turned her around, and pushed her back into the apartment”.
That surveillance footage then showed Starren re-entering her apartment but never leaving. Jorgenson is seen later carrying duffle bags and a suitcase out of the apartment a week later. Prosecutors believe that he had dismembered Starren’s body in her apartment and was taking parts of her body out in that surveillance footage. When investigators went to Starren’s apartment, they found blood in her bedroom, living room, and kitchen.
CBS News reported that police found Starren’s body after Jorgenson barricaded himself in his apartment and started a fire in response to authorities arriving to search his apartment on June 26. After fighting back, Jorgenson was arrested, and police then found Starren’s body after tracking Jorgenson’s cell phone activity to the storage unit where he’d apparently hidden her body.
A little over a week later, on July 6, 2023, the body of Fanta Xayavong, who is believed to have also been in an abusive relationship with Jorgenson before she went missing, was found in a Coon Rapids storage unit connected to him. Xayavong had been missing since July 2021, and while Jorgenson has not yet been charged with her murder, St. Paul police Sgt. Mike Ernster named him as a “person of interest” in Xayavong’s murder after her remains were found in the storage unit, according to The Washington Post.
At a news conference, Police Chief Axel Henry said, “Cases like this are extremely rare, but they are reminders to all of us that monsters can be real.”
USA Today shared that police are now trying to determine whether Jorgenson is linked to any other missing people.
The investigation is ongoing. Police have asked for anyone with information about Jorgenson or missing people in relation to him to call the BCA tip line at 1-877-996-6222 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence or abuse from a romantic partner, you can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, call 1.800.799.SAFE, or text START to 88788 for help. Advocates are available 24/7 to help callers talk through their situation and connect them with local resources. There is no charge to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.