Family, friends mourn Anoka man found dead in rented RV

  • Article by: JOY POWELL and JIM ADAMS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2014 - 8:26 PM

Mystery still surrounds the November disappearance of 22-year-old Kevin Casserly.

Kevin Casserly
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Kevin Casserly

About 150 friends and family members mourned Kevin Casserly at a Sunday night vigil for the Anoka man whose body was found in the cargo compartment of an RV rented for a rolling bachelor party.

Casserly, 22, disappeared last November after he was last seen near the Northstar commuter rail station in Anoka, where mourners gathered Sunday and where searchers had regularly met to look for him. The RV in which he was found had also been stored near the station.

“We walked right by him,” said his sister, Alexandra Casserly. “We searched this whole area.”

She said her brother’s two children, ages 4 and 6, were told their father had died, “but they didn’t fully understand.” The children, who attended the vigil, are living with Casserly’s mother.

Earlier Sunday, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said no information on how Casserly died would be released until at least Monday. Family members said they too were waiting for more information about what had happened to him.

Casserly’s body was discovered Thursday night in Winona in the compartment of an RV that had been rented from a private person in Anoka by a group of men headed to the Kentucky Derby. The RV owner’s name has not been released.

The groom-to-be, Dan Trainor, of Rochester, said Saturday that no one in the bachelor party would publicly identify the owner of the RV, given the ongoing investigation.

The body was discovered when the bachelor party group stopped along Hwy. 61 in Winona, Minn., and parked outside a closed-for-the-night Shopko store. They noticed an odor coming from one of the vehicle’s exterior compartments, opened the compartment and spotted the body.

Casserly’s family had long feared foul play in his disappearance. He was last seen on Nov. 12 in Anoka, running or walking fast, and wearing no shoes about 7:30 a.m. near Ferry Street and Hwy. 10, according to a Facebook page, “Help Find Kevin Casserly.”

“After 24 weeks of searching, it is with heavy hearts that we share with you that Kevin’s body was recovered on Thursday,” said a Saturday morning posting by Casserly’s family, who had created the page in December. “Though not released and laid to rest yet, he will be. It is no longer a question of when and where.”

Casserly, who has a twin brother, had been in trouble in recent years, including for drug and domestic abuse convictions. He was on probation for throwing or spitting bodily fluids at police and for violating a domestic abuse protection order, both of which are felonies.

His family said that he’d been doing better and that he was steering clear of methamphetamine, to which he’d been addicted. He was happy lately about a recent promotion at his manufacturing job, they said. And he was heavily involved in the lives of his two young kids, who were being raised by their grandmother.

Mystery surrounds not only how Casserly’s body got into the RV compartment, but how and why he disappeared.

Anoka police and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension posted an alert about two weeks after he went missing, saying he left all of his belongings behind. His car was found in the 2900 block of 7th Avenue in Anoka. It was out of gas and his keys were missing, his family has said.

On Nov. 11, Casserly had called his mother to tell her that he had the flu and that he was calling in sick to work. She went to check on him and found his apartment door partly open, with his cellphone and wallet inside and a $20 bill on a table. He was spotted running shoeless the next morning.

Searches by up to 120 people and a candlelight vigil followed, and a $1,500 reward was offered.

“To all the volunteers who helped us search for Kevin, thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” the Facebook posting said Saturday. “Words cannot express how much the support has meant to all of us and Kevin’s family.”

T

joy.powell@startribune.com • 612-673-7750 jim.adams@startribune.com • 612-6737658

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