ST. PAUL, Minn. (TCD) — Police have located and positively identified the remains of a missing 34-year-old woman and arrested her boyfriend on suspicion of murder.
According to St. Paul Police, Manijeh “Mani” Starren had not been seen since April, and family reported her missing May 1 after not hearing from her for several days.
Police learned she was last seen at her apartment on East 7th Street and conducted a search there. While inside, investigators found blood evidence. They used that information and a surveillance video to conclude that a crime occurred inside the apartment, which led them to identify a person of interest.
Police said Starren’s boyfriend, Joseph Jorgenson, entered her apartment after she went missing, and he never reported her disappearance to the police.
On June 26, St. Paul SWAT executed a search warrant at Jorgenson’s house in Maplewood, but Jorgenson allegedly ignited a fire when officers entered. Jorgenson reportedly “fought with officers and attempted to disarm them,” leaving two officers with minor injuries.
He was eventually arrested on unrelated charges. Investigators then searched the apartment and discovered additional blood evidence.
The investigation led to a storage facility on the 800 block of Weir Drive. On June 28, detectives executed another search warrant at a storage unit and found human remains, later identified as Starren’s. Jorgenson was subsequently charged with second-degree murder.
According to court documents cited by KARE-TV, video footage from April 21 reportedly showed Starren running from her apartment with Jorgenson chasing her and forcing her back inside. She was not seen alive after that. Jorgenson, however, allegedly came and went from Starren’s apartment between April 21 and April 28. On April 28, he reportedly left the building with two duffel bags.
Residents in Jorgenson’s building reportedly noticed a “foul smell” coming from his apartment and even allegedly saw him holding a black duffel bag that looked like he was “carrying a dead body.”
When investigators searched the storage unit, which was in Jorgenson’s roommate’s name, they located the duffel bags with human remains inside.
KARE reports one of Jorgenson’s former girlfriends, Fanta Xayavong, went missing in 2021.
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