A 40-year-old man has been charged with murder after the dismembered remains of his girlfriend, a mother of three, were discovered in plastic bags and a cooler in a storage unit in Minnesota. The grisly find came months after the woman went missing, and police are now investigating the suspect’s possible connection to another missing woman. The accused, Joseph S. Jorgenson, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Joseph S. Jorgenson, 40, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Manijeh “Mani” Starren, 34. According to records, Starren’s dismembered remains were found wrapped in plastic in bags and a cooler in a storage unit. Jorgenson’s defense attorney could not be reached for comment.
The case came to light on May 1st when Starren’s father reported her missing to the Saint Paul Police Department. He revealed that she had struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues and was supposed to enter a drug treatment center but never arrived. Starren’s father also mentioned her fear of a boyfriend named Joe, who had once wrapped a rope around her neck during a violent incident.
Evidence of a serious injury or killing was discovered in Starren’s apartment, along with signs of an attempt to clean up blood. Large amounts of blood were found in the living room, primarily on the couch, floor, and kitchen. The apartment showed signs of disturbance, including a cracked TV screen, broken microwave glass, and a bedsheet with red stains.
Video surveillance footage captured Starren with Jorgenson outside her apartment on April 21st. The footage showed her running from the apartment, with Jorgenson catching up to her, grabbing her, and pushing her back inside. Jorgenson did not report her missing to the police and continued with his life without notifying anyone.
Jorgenson’s Facebook history revealed threatening messages towards Starren, including one where he allegedly threatened her life. When a SWAT team raided Jorgenson’s apartment, he barricaded himself inside, started a fire, and fought with officers. He now faces separate charges of arson, threats of violence, and disarming an officer.
During the search of Jorgenson’s apartment, a woman was found with multiple bruises and scratches, claiming that Jorgenson had choked and threatened to kill her. The apartment emitted a foul odor, and a large pool of blood was discovered in the front closet. The smell impacted the entire building, described as similar to that of a dead animal.
Authorities tracked Jorgenson’s phone data, leading them to a storage facility. Inside, they found a green tote with cleaning supplies, a large cooler wrapped in plastic, a blue duffle bag, and a small carry-on size suitcase. The coolers and bag emitted a strong smell of decomposing flesh. X-ray scans revealed human remains inside.
The medical examiner had to rely on tattoos and dental records in order to confirm the identity of the dismembered remains as Manijeh Starren. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for her funeral. Starren’s friends describe her as a devoted mother who always showed kindness and patience.
In addition to the murder charge, police are investigating Jorgenson’s possible involvement in the disappearance of another woman, Fanta Xayavong, who was last seen with the suspect in July 2021. Authorities express concern for Xayavong’s safety.
Joseph S. Jorgenson has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Manijeh Starren, whose dismembered remains were found in a storage unit. The investigation has also raised concerns about another missing woman, Fanta Xayavong. Jorgenson’s next court date is scheduled for August 21st.