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Charges: Missing man’s dismembered remains placed in buckets, dumped in Lake Superior

He was reported missing from St. Paul on June 20.

Multiple agencies are investigating after a St. Paul man's remains were found in buckets and a tote bag at the bottom of Lake Superior last week. 

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says the remains of Richard Anthony Balsimo, 34, of St. Paul, were found in Lake Superior off the shore of Grand Portage in Cook County last week. 

Warning: This story contains upsetting details.

Balsimo was last seen in St. Paul on June 20, with the BCA previously saying he may be in the Duluth/Superior area. 

Dive teams located his remains on July 15 and 16 about 146 miles northeast of Duluth. 

A medical examiner ruled Balsimo died of "homicidal violence," and a criminal complaint suggests he was shot in the torso before his body was dismembered and thrown into the lake. 

Robert Thomas West, 41, of Duluth/South Range, Wisconsin, has been charged with one count of aiding an offender and one count of interference with a dead body in connection to the incident. 

According to the criminal complaint, on July 13 the Douglas County, Wisconsin, Sheriff's Office told the BCA it had learned Balsimo was likely killed and dismembered on June 20, and his body was later placed in 5-gallon buckets in Lake Superior outside of Grand Portage, Cook County, Minnesota.

A witness said they met with West who asked to boat him on Lake Superior, where West dropped two 5-gallon buckets and "one large tote," which he claimed to be the body of a dog, into the lake, charges state. West had said he was also disposing of personal belongings. 

The witness helped officials locate where the buckets were dumped, with the BCA recovering the tote and one bucket. Inside the tote was a human torso with legs, arms and head removed, charges state. In the pocket of a pair of pants was a casino players card belonging to Balsimo. 

There was a bullet wound in the torso, the complaint says. 

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West, who was in custody in Wisconsin on unrelated charges, told investigators on July 16 that he came up with the plan to dispose of Balsimo's body and assisted in dismembering his body, the complaint says. 

The complaint names a suspect in Balsimo's death but he has not been formally charged. The BCA says additional charges are expected.

"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 said. 

The BCA as well as the Cook County Attorney's Office, Cook County Sheriff's Office, Douglas County, Wisconsin, Sheriff's Office, Minnesota Attorney General's OFfice, St. Louis County Sheriff's OFfice, St. Paul Police Department and Superior, Wisconsin, Police Department are all assisting in the investigation. 

There's nothing in the complaint to suggest Balsimo's death is related to the dismemberment investigation in Minneapolis, but Bring Me The News has reached out to check.

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