Fargo-area residents might remember the “Sleepwatcher” case. In 2006 and 2007, a man snuck into homes in the Fargo-Moorhead area and watched people sleep. In some cases, he actually climbed into bed with them and watched them until they woke up. I was reminded of the case when I saw a similar story in the local media awhile back. I got curious and decided to do some digging on it.
Court records cited by the Fargo Forum in an April 17th, 2007 report named a Washington man, Casmer Volk, as a suspect in the Sleepwatcher case. Volk spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between Kittitas County, Washington, and the Fargo area, where he has family. Volk was given two years of probation for 2006 and 2007 window peeping incidents in the Fargo area, but he was never conclusively linked to other Sleepwatcher home intrusions.
As a Fargo resident who paid some attention to the cases, I vaguely remember some law enforcement sources poo-pooing the notion that Volk was responsible for all the Sleepwatcher home intrusions, but I always suspected Volk was the guy, partly based on eyewitness description of the man. I have no doubt the police worked very hard to convict the guy, and to connect him to the other Sleepwatcher cases, but the community wasn’t really in a panic over it — the Sleepwatcher has not harmed anybody seemed to be the attitude.
I saw a newspaper headline awhile back about a man who walked into a West Fargo woman’s home and climbed into bed with her and I immediately wondered if the Sleepwatcher had returned, but as I read the story on this latest incident, it seemed obvious that this guy was just a drunk who wandered into the wrong house ala Robert Downey Jr during his lost years.
Nevertheless, my interest was piqued on whatever happened to the Sleepwatcher and I decided to do some searching. I searched for stories on the Sleepwatcher and Casmer Volk and this is what I discovered.
In September of 2008, after returning to Kittitas County, Volk was caught in a Washington woman’s apartment while she was showering. Volk was returned to North Dakota and his probation was revoked by Judge John Irby, who gave him one year with credit for 128 days served.
I can find no record of Volk’s release from jail in North Dakota, but he must have been released because he promptly went back to Washington state and started getting in trouble. In January of 2012, Volk was convicted of raping a four year old boy in Kittitas County. The rape occurred in May of 2011 while Volk’s girlfriend was babysitting the boy. I think Volk was sentenced to 28 years to life, but the link is no longer available online. In early 2014, Volk’s attorney appealed his conviction and the appeal was denied. You can see the document here, but a word of caution, the details of his assault on the little boy are graphic.
I was pretty surprised to find all this information since I had no idea that he had such a criminal history outside North Dakota, but a few thoughts come immediately to mind. First, the Fargo area dodged a bullet with this sicko. To my knowledge, he never actually assaulted anyone during his time here, probably due to the fact that our police force kept him back on his heels once they were onto him. And second, I’m reminded why it’s important to take seemingly petty crimes like peeping seriously. This guy started out as a peeper, then became an intruder, and eventually went on to become a child rapist.
Kudos to the authorities who finally put him away.
Troy Larson is a Fargo resident, husband, father, writer, photographer, and President of Sonic Tremor Media LLC. Read more.