Fargo-area residents might remember the “Sleep Watcher” 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 today.
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.
As a Fargo resident, I was casually interested in 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 thought Volk was the guy. 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.
Today I saw a newspaper headline about a man who walked into a West Fargo woman’s home and climbed into bed with her. I immediately wondered if the Sleepwatcher had returned.
I read the story on this latest incident and it seemed obvious that this guy was just a drunk who wandered into the wrong house ala Robert Downey Junior during his lost years — the sleepwatcher had not returned. Nevertheless, my interest was piqued and I decided to do some searching.
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 Volk was returned to North Dakota and his probation was revoked by Judge John Irby, who gave him one year with credit for 128 days served.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 was babysitting the boy. I think Volk has since been sentenced to 28 years to life, but the link is no longer available online.
So, a couple things come 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 rapist.
And now that he’s behind bars, I bet we won’t have to worry about a Sleepwatcher in the Fargo area for quite some time.