Murder Suspect Accused of Chopping Up Girlfriend Suspected in Case of Another Missing Woman
Minnesota man Joseph Jorgenson, 40, of Maplewood, who is accused of chopping up his girlfriend Manjieh ‘Mani’ Starren, 34, and putting her remains in a storage unit, has now been linked to the disappearance of Fanta Xayavong, 33, who was last seen with Jorgenson before she disappeared in July 2021.
Jorgenson was arrested after a standoff at his Maplewood home with police who reportedly followed a trail of evidence that included a Google search for the word ‘jugular’ the day Starren disappeared.
Starren’s remains were found wrapped in plastic bags and put in coolers at a storage facility where a unit had been rented under the name of Jorgenson’s roommate, according to the criminal complaint.
Xayavong went missing in July 2021, though a missing person report was not filed until May 2023, police said.
Investigators believe there was a relationship between Xayavong and Jorgenson when she went missing. Police have renewed calls for information on her case and asked anyone with details to contact the authorities.
Xayavong is described as 5 feet-4 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds; her last known location may have been Shoreview, police said.
‘To put it bluntly, we’re concerned for her safety also,’ Saint Paul Police Sgt. Mike Ernster said at a press conference on Friday.
Jorgenson was charged Friday with one count of murder in the second degree in connection to the death of Starren and could face up to 40 years in prison, Law and Crime reported
‘Thank you to the officers for following every lead,’ Starren’s brother wrote on Facebook after her body was found. ‘My beautiful sister, you will be missed greatly! Heaven has gotten a new Angel, and we haven’t stopped looking and found you to bring you home!… Hope you are sitting with Grandpa fishing and watching dolphins up there fly high! I LOVE YOU!!’
Starren’s father reported her missing to the Saint Paul Police Department on May 1 after not hearing from her since April 21.
Police learned Starren was allegedly the victim of domestic violence and that her son’s father told them Jorgenson had once wrapped a rope around her neck. A neighbor also told cops they had seen her with a black eye and red marks on her neck.
Security video showed Starren running from her apartment on April 21 and Jorgenson pulling her back in, police said. He was later caught on camera going in and out of the home 28 times in the following week—once with a suitcase and duffle bags into his roommate’s pickup truck. Starren, however, was not seen again.
A search of Jorgenson’s apartment in Maplewood revealed broken furniture and appliances and blood on the couch, living room, and kitchen. It would later be revealed to belong to Starren.
A SWAT team raided his apartment Monday, where police said Jorgenson barricaded himself inside, allegedly started a fire, and resisted officers. He also reportedly tried to grab a SWAT officer’s AR-15 before he was arrested.
Manijeh Starren Found Dismembered in Storage; Joseph Jorgenson Charged https://t.co/tuBPIa1ZKc
— zoli osaze (@zaswadosaze) July 2, 2023
Joseph Jorgenson is accused of killing Manijeh Starren https://t.co/b8JwPLDded
— Newsy People (@NewsyPeople) July 2, 2023
Minnesota- Joseph Jorgenson, you MURDERING/PSYCHOPATH
May you burn for eternity 🔥🔥🔥
✝️ Rest with GOD ✝️
Manjieh 'Mani' Starren
/video in thread/ pic.twitter.com/BPOkk25VUk
— TruthInBytes (@HipIsEdo) July 2, 2023
Jorgenson faces separate charges of arson, threats of violence, and disarming an officer from that incident.
Further investigation revealed that the building manager where Jorgenson lived told police residents had complained in mid-May about a stench from his apartment that smelled like something had died.
‘Shortly afterward, the manager and maintenance employee saw Jorgenson carrying and dragging large black duffle bags out of the apartment. They commented to each other that it looked like Jorgenson was ‘carrying a dead body,’ according to the complaint.
Two days after the raid, police located Starren’s chopped-up remains at a storage facility in Woodbury. They also found two padlock keys that matched the storage unit, where cell phone records show that Jorgenson had been on May 18.
‘The torso was extensively wrapped in saran wrap and placed in multiple layers of bags,’ according to the affidavit.
Jorgenson was charged Friday with one count of murder in the second degree in the death of Manijeh “Mani” Starren. If convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison.
Jorgenson’s bail was set at $5 Million, and his next court date is August 21.
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