Man sentenced to 32 years in prison for killing Erin Ziemendorf

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by Chris Patterson

KENOSHA -- 40-year-old Matthew McDowell, the man accused of killing his girlfriend and leaving her body in Chicago near a bus station, has been sentenced to 32 years in jail.


According to the criminal complaint, McDowell and his girlfriend 30-year-old Erin Ziemendorf got in an argument that turned physical. McDowell told police the argument was over his girlfriend saying she was cheating on him.


McDowell told police, the argument started on October 25th and continued the next morning in the upper bedroom of his residence. McDowell alleges Ziemendorf bumped him and grabbed his rib cage. He allegedly pushed Ziemendorf, and he claims that's when she attacked him with a corkscrew.


The criminal complaint McDowell told police he pushed his girlfriend onto the bed, and got his hands around her neck. McDowell told police, Ziemendorf's hands left his face after he heard a crack. Police say McDowell told them Ziemendorf was unresponsive and wasn't breathing after he heard the crack.


McDowell admitted to police upon realizing his girlfriend was dead, he put her body in the trunk of her car and drove it down to Chicago. McDowell told family members he took a train back to Kenosha and caught a cab home.


The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office confirms Ziemendorf's cause of death of blunt force trauma to the neck.

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