Rose Downwind’s body was discovered Wednesday evening.
Published December 12, 2015
BEMIDJI, MINNESOTA – Two men charged in the death of Rose Downwind were arraigned yesterday Beltrami County District Court in Bemidji, Minnesota. A warrant has been issued for a the arrest of a third man involved.
Downwind, 31, the mother of five children and granddaughter of Dennis Banks, a co-founder and leader of the American Indian Movement, was reported missing in late October and her remains were unearthed from a shallow grave on Wednesday evening.
Marchello Cimmarusti, Downwind’s ex-boyfriend and father of some of her five children, turned himself into authorities on Monday night provided law enforcement with the location of Downwind’s body just north of Bemidji.
Court documents reveal a description of how Downwind met her death and subsequent gruesome attempt to burn her remains by the accused. According to court records, Cimmarusti confessed that Rose Downwind and children stayed with him on October 20, 2015 – even though he had a restraining order against being in her presence.
His account to police indicated the two began to argue and Downwind then threatened to call the police on him for breaking the restraining order. He then pushed her down the basement stairway where she hit the floor. Cimmarusti said Downwind was bleeding from her mouth and had no pulse. He knew she was dead so he did not attempt to revive her.
After knowing she was dead, Cimmarusti told police he called Brandon Rossbach and Christopher Davis, his cousin, to assist him dispose of her remains.
Rossbach was arrested on Wednesday on a criminal complaint that alleges he used the Internet to search “how hot does a fire have to be to burn through bone,” which was discovered by police on his cellphone.
Police obtained surveillance video that shows Rossbach and Davis purchasing and carrying Styrofoam bowls and cups out of Walmart in Bemdji at 12:38 a.m. on October 21. The two then drove to Cimmarusti’s house with the items, as well as a gasoline can containing gasoline.
Cimmarusti, Rossbach and Davis took Downwind’s body to a remote location off of Highway 89 on a trail in a wooded area in the middle of the night. Once there, they dug a shallow four-feet deep hole and put Downwind’s remains in it and dosed the body and Styrofoam containers with gasoline and set the body on fire. Later they covered the hole with dirt.
They then returned to Cimmarusti’s home.
On October 26, the Bemidji Police Department released a statement informing the public that Downwind was reported missing by her family. That week police questioned Cimmarusti, who told law enforcement that Downwind left his residence in a blue van heading for St. Paul on October 21, 2015.
As time progressed, police named Cimmarusti and Davis as “persons of interest” in the case.
The case broke once Cimmarusti turned himself in on Monday evening.
In court proceedings Friday, Cimmarusti was arraigned for a Second-degree Murder, While under a Restraining Order. Bail was set at $1.5 million and he remains in jail.
Rossbach was arraigned on an Aiding an Offender charge for is alleged assistance in disposing of Downwind’s remains. Bail for Rossbach was set at $750,000.
As of Friday, Davis, who will be charged with Aiding an Offender, had not been arrested.