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Body of slain man lay for half a day behind downtown Fargo bank, court docs say

Roberto Garcia and Cirilo Contreras got into an altercation behind Alerus Bank, according to a criminal complaint. Contreras died of a fatal brain injury.

ROBERTO GARCIA MUGSHOT.JPG
Roberto Garcia
Cass County Jail
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FARGO — The body of a man who allegedly was killed by another in downtown Fargo lay behind a bank for more than 14 hours before he was discovered, according to court documents.

A criminal complaint made public Thursday, Sept. 22, shed some light on why Roberto Cardenas Garcia, 58, of St. Paul, has been charged in connection to the Aug. 13 death of 53-year-old Cirilo Sustaita Contreras. Garcia appeared Wednesday in Cass County District Court on felony charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Court documents alleged Contreras and Garcia got into an altercation around 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13 behind Alerus Bank at 51 N. Broadway. A criminal complaint did not detail what happened during the fight, but video shows Contreras did not move from where the confrontation happened.

Fargo police responded around 8:40 a.m. Aug. 14 to a report of a man found behind the bank. Contreras died from head trauma, the complaint said. He had mouth, lip and neck injuries and was missing multiple teeth, the complaint said.

It’s unknown why Contreras went unnoticed for more than half a day.

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About two hours after the fight, Garcia told a security guard at the downtown Fargo bus station he was attacked while sleeping, the complaint said. The guard called an ambulance since Garcia had a hand injury, but Garcia decided he didn’t need services and left, according to the complaint.

The suspect was arrested in St. Paul a month after Contreras’ death.

Garcia’s court-appointed attorney, Nichole Bredahl, said it is too early to comment on the case, as her office is waiting to receive evidence for review.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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