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Women found dead in separate storage units; police say it was done by same man

By Melanie Uson Published Jul 12, 2023 2:09 pm Updated Jul 12, 2023 2:29 pm

The lifeless bodies of two women were found in separate storage in Minnesota—and the police are linking their deaths to one suspect.

According to an NBC News report, 33-year-old Manijeh “Mani” Starren was found dead in late June, less than a month after being reported missing.

Detailing the discovery of her whereabouts, authorities said that the suspect, identified as Joseph Jorgenson, allegedly barricaded himself and started a fire in an attempt to stop the police from searching his apartment on June 26. He was later arrested. 

Manijeh’s lifeless body was found in Woodbury after the local police reviewed his phone activity. 

Prosecutors believe that the suspect dismembered Manijeh’s body and managed to transfer it by putting it on duffel bags and a small suitcase. 

“Crime scene technicians located evidence of large amounts of blood in the apartment’s living room primarily on the couch, the floor of the living room, and the kitchen. It was apparent someone had tried to clean up the blood,” the probable cause affidavit read, as obtained by PEOPLE. 

They also found a video where Manijeh was seen running away from Jorgenson on April 21. He later caught her and violently put her back inside. It was the last time she was seen outside the apartment.  

On June 30, Jorgenson was charged with second-degree murder for Manijeh’s death.

Additionally, Jorgenson is also the “person of interest” for Fanta Xavayong—who has been missing since 2021—and was also found dead in a storage unit. 

According to St. Paul Police, despite being last contacted in July 2021, Fanta was not reported missing until May this year when they received a tip in their human trafficking tipline. 

“They reported to us that Fanta was in an abusive relationship,” the police said, sharing that the caller identified Jorgenson as her partner. “They immediately became concerned for her safety.” 

On Thursday, July 6, Fanta’s dead body was found in Coon Rapids storage unit, similar to how they discovered Manijeh’s body. Her death was ruled as a homicide.

According to the police, Jorgenson isn't charged yet for Fanta’s death, but they will continue to investigate further on the case. 

“This case will likely expand to numerous cities and counties,” police said, while also determining whether Jorgenson was in a relationship with the victims at the same time or at different times. 

They also call for the public if they know anyone who’s also missing and is connected to Jorgenson.