Human remains found at Gooseberry Falls State Park in northern Minnesota have been matched to a Minneapolis woman reported missing in June 1985. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said the death of Cassandra Rhines is now being investigated as a murder.
Rhines, who was 19 at the time of her disappearance, was identified through DNA provided by her family members. Investigators now need information from the public to help determine the person responsible for this murder.
"I miss my sister. I miss her with all my heart and soul. She was my angel," her sister Janie Morris said. "I'm thankful to God he answered my prayer to allow me to bring her back home. But to know that she's no longer here is devastating."Discovery at Gooseberry Falls
On May 6, an off-duty Lake County sheriff's office employee discovered skeletal remains of a woman in a rarely-traveled part of the park. The DNA was identified as Cassandra Rhines of Minneapolis, which was made possible after family members provided DNA in 2013 as part of the BCA's unidentified remains effort.
"Cassandra Rhines was last heard from in June 1985, when she called a friend to confirm her attendance at her Goddaughter's birthday party in Minneapolis the next day," Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said. "She never showed, and was never heard from again."
Were you in Minneapolis in 1985?
Rhines lived in a multi-unit apartment complex at 2700 Grand Avenue South, near Whittier Park, in Minneapolis. Investigators are asking people who knew her or who lived in the area at the time, or who may have information, to come forward.
According to investigators, Rhines may have been involved in prostitution and may have worked as an exotic dancer. In addition, investigators believe that Rhines may have been living with a man. They're seeking the public's help to identify him because he may be able to provide information about the time during which she disappeared.
"Investigators need the public's help to better understand who Cassandra Rhines knew and who may have sought to harm her," BCA Assistant Superintendent Drew Evans said. "The clearer picture we have of the time when she disappeared, the better chance we have of finding out who killed her."
How you can help
Anyone with information about Cassandra Rhines is urged to contact the Lake County Sheriff's Office at 218-834-8385 or the BCA at 651-793-7000, 877-996-6222, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the BCA Tip Form at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/bca/bca-divisions/investigations/Documents/BCA-Tip-Form.pdf. Tips can be anonymous.
Do you have a missing family member?
Families with missing relatives should contact the Minnesota BCA at 651-793-1118, with the person's name and date of birth.