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Man charged in Cook County with accomplice to murder

Cook County Sheriff's Office - Photo by Rhonda Silence
Cook County Sheriff's Office - Photo by Rhonda Silence

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the death of a man whose remains were located last week in Lake Superior near Grand Portage.

Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken charged Duluth resident Robert Thomas West with accomplice to felony murder charges and one count of concealing a dead body for his involvement in the situation that unfolded last week in Grand Portage.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office identified the deceased as 34-year-old Richard Anthony Balsimo of St. Paul. The medical examiner said Balsimo died of homicidal violence. Additional details about his cause of death are pending further investigation.

Investigators working with dive teams located his remains in Lake Superior over the course of two days on July 15 and 16.

Additional charges are anticipated.

The county attorney charged West on July 16 with both charges.

As the charges involve a homicide, Hicken said “this unnecessary loss of life is a tragedy. We are grateful for the professional and ongoing investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and assistance and cooperation of multiple jurisdictions.”

Cook County officials said they can offer no additional information at this time.

On July 15, residents and visitors to the Grand Portage Bay area were alarmed to see multiple law enforcement agencies conducting an investigation in the area, according to local reports. 

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence contributed to this report.