A 33-year-old St. Paul woman missing for nearly two months allegedly was killed and dismembered by her boyfriend, who stashed her remains in a Maplewood apartment and later a storage unit before her body was discovered by police, prosecutors said Friday.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office charged Joseph Steven Jorgenson, 40, of Maplewood, with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Manijeh "Mani" Starren. They also believe he may be connected to the disappearance of a second woman, Fanta Xayavong, 33.

Jorgenson, who was arrested Monday, appeared in court Friday afternoon and remains jailed in lieu of $5 million bail. A message was left with his attorney seeking a response to the allegations. Jorgenson is due back in court on Aug. 21.

According to the criminal complaint:

Family members reported that Starren was missing from her apartment in the 1400 block of E. 7th Street on May 1, adding that they had last heard from her on April 18.

Starren's father also told investigators that his daughter may have been afraid of a boyfriend. Police identified the boyfriend as Joseph Jorgenson, who was the last person seen with Starren.

Video imagery from Starren's apartment on April 21 showed her running from her apartment before Jorgenson caught up to her. It also showed Jorgenson grabbing Starren, turning her around and pushing her back into the apartment. The video showed no evidence of her leaving the apartment again.

A week later, the same video showed Jorgenson entering and leaving the apartment 28 times, carrying two duffel bags and a suitcase to a pickup truck.

In late May, a police officer entered Starren's apartment where items were broken and a foam pad on top of the mattress had a large hole cut and removed from it with red stains at the foot of the bed. A search revealed blood in the living room and kitchen that someone had attempted to cleanup.

The manager where Jorgenson lived, Century Ridge Apartments in Maplewood, told police that neighbors had complained of a foul smell throughout the building, and on May 18 the manager and a maintenance employee entered the apartment.

Jorgenson was hostile and physically denied them access to a bedroom where the smell seemed to originate. They told Jorgenson and his roommate — who said he had a traumatic brain injury and lacked a sense of smell — to clean the apartment within a week, and they complied. The manager and maintenance employee saw Jorgenson dragging and carrying large duffel bags out of the apartment and commented to each other that it looked like he was "carrying a dead body."

On Monday, police obtained a warrant to search Jorgenson's apartment. He barricaded himself in a bedroom and started a fire in that room, causing severe damage. He was arrested after fighting with officers and attempting to disarm them.

Law enforcement investigation of the apartment revealed more blood, biological matter and evidence of "recent maggot activity."

A review of Jorgenson's phone pinged activity at a storage unit in Woodbury. A warrant to search the unit revealed a large cooler wrapped in plastic, a blue duffel bag and a small suitcase that had a strong smell of decomposition. They were not opened until they were brought to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office. An X-ray machine showed the coolers and bag held a dismembered body.

"In further review, it is believed Jorgenson dismembered (Starren) at her apartment and carried out her remains in various bags," the complaint read. An autopsy confirmed Starren's identity through tattoos and dental records.

During their investigation, police learned that Jorgenson may be involved in another missing person case.According to a Ramsey County search warrant, a friend reported that Fanta Xayavong may have been a victim of sex trafficking, and they suspected Jorgenson was to blame.

Family and friends last heard from Xayavong in July of 2021. The friend who reported her missing said that Jorgenson threatened to kill them when they tried to get her into rehab.

"She does have a connection with Jorgenson and, to put it bluntly, we're concerned for her safety also," St. Paul Police Sgt. Mike Ernster said. "Our investigators will be looking to find her, and I hope we find her safe."

People with information about her whereabouts are urged to call 911 if it's an emergency or 651-291-1111 to speak with an officer. Authorities said no tip or information is too small.

Staff writers Abby Simons and Paul Walsh contributed to this report.