Hours after police announced that two men had been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection to the disappearance of Rose Downwind, the granddaughter of AIM co-founder Dennis Banks, Dog the Bounty Hunter spoke to ICTMN about his experience in searching for the mother of five. Dog had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Downwind, who was last seen on Oct. 19, in Bemidji, Minnesota.
The two men who have been arrested are Downwind’s ex-boyfriend, Marchello Anthony Cimmarusti, 40, and Brandon Joseph Rossbach, 31 a friend of Cimmarusti’s. The arrests became public after news broke that a body had been found in a shallow grave in Bemidji, Minnesota.
In an exclusive interview with ICTMN, Dog the Bounty Hunter – Duane “Dog” Chapman – revealed details about the case previously unreleased. (Note: On the line with Chapman was Downwind family friend Sam Cornette, who was also heavily involved in the search.)
Thanks for taking a moment during this sad time… How was the process of searching for Rose initially?
The friends of Marchello all started to act really crazy and we started to get phone calls [of false sightings]. They knew Sam and I were hunting.
At first, did you think she was alive or deceased?
One thing that led us to believe she was deceased is that she usually picks up her benefits like clockwork on the same day. That is how she lives. When she did not pick it up we knew right then something was wrong.
Did you know the whereabouts of Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Marchello Cimmarusti?
His mother tried to send us to Mexico, [and] his 90-year-old grandfather also told us he went to Mexico. When a 90-something-year-old person tells you he sent the guy to Mexico, you kind of want to believe them.
However, we knew he wasn’t in Mexico because Marchello was texting one of our sources.
Minutes after our conversation with the grandpa, Marchello sent a text to one of our sources that he was in the house with the grandpa and the mom when they were telling us he was in Mexico.
That was [when] Sam and I said, “My God, he has done something to her, or he has killed her.”
Based on your decades of capturing fugitives, did you have an idea of how this might all turn out?
I thought, it was on only a matter of time. It was a few days ago that we found out from one of our sources that [the police] found burned bones in a shallow grave. But we shut our mouths until the police announced it.
[We suspected Marchello] because of [his] previous domestic violence behavior; a lot of people told me that he had beat her up several times. It progresses like that, that is why things like that are illegal… you just cannot hit a woman. This is what happens. It is just terrible.
Did you think one of the guilty parties would come forward when you offered the $10,000 reward?
We put up the $10,000 [because] we suspected that Marchello did not do this by himself. He never does anything, not even fishing, by himself… never. I told Sam that we will put up some money so that we could try to get somebody else that is involved with it, that didn’t do the actual killing and had just helped him with the body… I thought for 10 grand, the guy would come forward.
There were two alleged helpers and I thought for sure the money would bring them out. One has been arrested the other is still under investigation.
This is so very, very sad. There are a lot of kids who are going to miss their mommy.
Were you able to work with the authorities?
In these cases you really have to watch that you do not get in the cops’ business. We did not try to get in their business. But this was family to us – the only thing we could do outside of tying the guy to a stake and beating him until he tells us, was to offer money, because we knew there was more than one person involved.
We did everything we could do to stay out of the cops’ way. Both I and Sam think the cops did an excellent job.
We didn’t push it; we just stayed out of the way. We put our own information together; we watched where [Marchello] was going. He went to his mother’s house in Illinois. We knew he did it.
Did you reach out to Marchello?
We knew where he was at all times…. Sam and I called him a few times and taunted him, we jibed with him. He was freaking out. We said, “We are going to get you, and we know what you did, brother.”
Sam and I picked on him. “We’re gonna get you, brother – why you changing your phone number?” He changed his cell, we got the number again. We called him at his mother’s, we were like a little ghost that said “We’re going to get you.”
Editor’s Note: The opinions and observations of Chapman are his own, and ICTMN cannot confirm or endorse his allegations as fact. An arrest and murder charge is not proof of guilt, and all suspects are entitled to due process of law.