DPS NEWS - Death Investigation Underway in Cook County

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Minnesota Department of Public Safety - Bureau of Criminal Apprehension news release


Jill Oliveira


July 19, 2021


Death Investigation Underway in Cook County

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), with assistance from with several additional agencies, is investigating the death of a man whose remains were located in Lake Superior off the shore of the Cook County city of Grand Portage.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the deceased as Richard Anthony Balsimo, 34, of St. Paul. The medical examiner said Mr. Balsimo died of homicidal violence. Additional details about his cause of death are pending further investigation. Mr. Balsimo was last seen in St. Paul on June 20. Investigators working with dive teams located his remains in Lake Superior on July 15 and 16.

The Cook County Attorney’s Office on July 16 charged Robert Thomas West of Duluth with one count Aiding an Offender and one count Interference with a Dead Body for his role in the incident. Additional charges are anticipated.

This is an active and ongoing investigation, but based on what is known at this time, investigators do not believe there is an ongoing threat to public safety.

The BCA is assisted with its investigation by the following agencies:

  • Cook County Attorney’s Office
  • Cook County Sheriff’s Office
  • Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (Wisc.)
  • Minnesota Attorney General’s Office
  • St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Paul Police Department
  • Superior Police Department (Wisc.)

Additional information will be available as the investigation progresses.