Woman charged with helping dump St. Paul man’s dismembered body in Lake Superior

A Duluth woman has been charged with helping to dispose a Twin Cities man’s dismembered body that was found last month in the waters of Lake Superior off the northernmost reaches of Minnesota’s shoreline.

Tommi L. Hintz, 30, was charged Wednesday in Cook County District Court with accomplice after the fact to murder and interference with a body in connection with the death of Richard A. Balsimo, 34, of St. Paul, who was reported missing by his family on June 20.

Dive teams worked for two days in mid-July before recovering the remains in the lake near Grand Portage.

Charged earlier with the same counts as Hintz was Robert T. West, 40, of South Range, Wis. Authorities believe there is at least one more suspect. The criminal complaint against West reported that he said another man shot Balsimo for reasons not yet disclosed by law enforcement.

Hintz was being held in the nearby Lake County jail and had a Thursday morning court appearance scheduled. West was arrested in Wisconsin, and a warrant has been issued for his return to Minnesota.

According to the charges against West and Hintz:

Hintz told the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that she, West and a 35-year-old man all met at West’s home south of Superior, Wis., on June 20, the date Balsimo was reported missing. The other man appeared nervous that something in his car might be discovered.

The car’s owner then asked the woman to deliver a gun to West, who arranged to hire a commercial fisherman in Grand Portage to go out on Lake Superior.

West told Hintz he wanted to dump some of his grandmother’s valuables in the water. West, Hintz and the owner of the boat met in Grand Portage about 11:30 p.m. on June 22. While on the lake, the boat owner saw West drop two buckets and a large tote bag overboard.

The next day, West told Hintz that Balsimo was “chopped up” while in a camper and that the car’s owner had shot him, the complaint quoted West as saying.

With the help of a private investigation firm hired by Balsimo’s family, BCA agents located one bucket and the tote, which held a torso with a bullet hole. The complaint did not reveal the contents of the recovered bucket.

The gun also was located in the lake by law enforcement.

Once in jail, West confessed to brainstorming the plot to dispose of Balsimo’s body. He also admitted to helping dismember him.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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