Police have established a potential connection between two deceased women discovered in separate storage units in Minnesota, pointing to the involvement of the same individual.
As reported by the Star Tribune, Joseph Jorgenson, aged 40, is currently regarded as a person of interest in the demise of Fanta Xayavong, whose remains were found in a Coon Rapids storage unit on Thursday.
In a separate incident from June, Jorgenson has also been accused of murdering Manijeh “Mani” Starren, 33, whose remains were discovered in another storage unit in Woodbury. Charges of second-degree murder were filed against Jorgenson on June 30 in relation to Starren’s death.
Authorities initiated an investigation into the disappearance of Starren on May 1, following her father’s report. She had not been in contact since April 18.
Armed with a search warrant, law enforcement uncovered surveillance footage depicting “Starren fleeing from her residence” on April 21.
As stated in the probable cause affidavit obtained by PEOPLE, “Jorgenson pursued [Starren], seized her, turned her around, and forcibly directed her back into the apartment.”
The surveillance footage captured Starren entering the apartment but never leaving. Additionally, it showed Jorgenson removing two duffle bags and a suitcase from the apartment a week later, as confirmed by the police.
According to the probable cause affidavit, investigators entered Starren’s apartment and discovered traces of blood in the kitchen, living room, and bedroom.
“Crime scene technicians identified significant amounts of blood in the living room, primarily on the couch, the living room floor, and the kitchen. It was evident that attempts had been made to clean up the blood.”
As mentioned in the affidavit, a bedsheet had been partially removed, and a “foam pad atop the mattress had a sizable hole that had been deliberately cut and removed.”
When authorities apprehended Jorgenson on June 26, he barricaded himself inside his Maplewood residence and initiated a fire. He engaged in physical altercations with officers and attempted to seize their weapons, as reported by the police. Eventually, he was taken into custody.
The police allegedly discovered Starren’s blood inside Jorgenson’s apartment. Furthermore, an examination of his phone records revealed recent visits to a storage unit in Woodbury.
Based on this information, the police entered the unit and, according to the probable cause affidavit, discovered Starren’s dismembered remains wrapped in plastic wrap and concealed within two coolers and a blue duffle bag. Her death was classified as a homicide.
During the investigation into Starren’s disappearance, the police uncovered a “connection between Jorgenson and the missing woman, Fanta Xayavong.”
According to a police press release, investigators from the missing persons unit were alerted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Human Trafficking regarding a tip from a concerned individual regarding Xayavong. The informant alleged that “Xayavong was involved in an abusive relationship with Jorgenson, and they expressed worry due to the loss of contact,” the Associated Press reported.
Xayavong had been missing since July 2021.
Following this information, the police investigated Xayavong’s disappearance, which led them to a storage unit in Coon Rapids where her remains were found on July 6. Her death has been determined as a homicide.
The authorities are currently investigating whether Jorgenson is connected to other deaths.
Jorgenson has not yet entered a plea in the Starren case. His next court appearance is scheduled for August 21.
Efforts to reach Jorgenson’s attorney for comment have been unsuccessful.