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Charges filed after dismembered Twin Cities man found in Lake Superior

Robert Thomas West is charged with being an accomplice to felony murder after the remains of 34-year-old Richard Anthony Balsimo of St. Paul were found.

GRAND PORTAGE, Minn. — Human remains found on the floor of Lake Superior have been identified as those of a missing Twin Cities man, and another man is now criminally charged in connection with his death. 

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) says the remains, found in a bucket and a tote off the shore of Grand Portage, belong to 34-year-old Richard Anthony Balsimo. An autopsy says Balsimo died of "homicidal violence," and a criminal complaint filed in the case says a bullet wound was discovered on the victim's torso. 

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.

In a criminal complaint filed in Cook County late last week 41-year-old Robert Thomas West was charged with being an accomplice to felony murder after the fact, for allegedly helping to dispose of Balsimo's body, and interference with a dead body for helping to conceal the crime. 

The case against West was built on information from an informant who reportedly was asked by the defendant if they knew anybody with a boat because he "wanted to go fishing." Later, while driving to Grand Portage, West allegedly told the informant that he had a dead body in the back of his truck, and that the victim's body was chopped up inside a camper after he had been shot "in self defense."

Investigators questioned the boat owner who reportedly told them West dropped two buckets and a large tote into Lake Superior. With help from the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office and the boat owner BCA agents were able to recover one five-gallon bucket and the tote from the floor of the big lake. The remains were taken to the Anoka County Medical Examiners Office for identification. 

Prosecutors say West was questioned about his involvement, and allegedly confessed to his role in disposing of Balsimo's body. 

In a press release the BCA says more charges are anticipated in the case. West remains held in the Douglas County Jail on unrelated charges. 

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