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Mystery surrounds discovery of 4 Twin Cities friends found dead in abandoned SUV

Here's what is known about the case so far — and what questions remains.
Loyace Foreman III (top left); Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley (top right); Jasmine Christine Sturm (bottom left); Matthew Isiah Pettus (bottom right).

Loyace Foreman III (top left); Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley (top right); Jasmine Christine Sturm (bottom left); Matthew Isiah Pettus (bottom right).

Update: Authorities on Thursday afternoon announced the arrest of one suspect wanted in connection with the quadruple killing. They are still searching for a second suspect, considered "armed and dangerous" and likely in the Twin Cities area.

Days after four Minnesota residents were discovered shot to death in an abandoned SUV in rural Wisconsin, there remain more questions than answers.

A 911 caller around 12:18 p.m. Sunday told emergency dispatch they'd spotted a black SUV in a corn field off County Trunk Highway VVV in Sheridan Township. There were multiple people inside who appeared to not be moving, the caller reported, the Dunn County Sheriff's Office has said. 

Deputies and first responders arrived 12 minutes later and discovered four individuals, dead in the vehicle:

  • Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, 30, Stillwater
  • Matthew Isiah Pettus, 26, St. Paul
  • Loyace Foreman III, 35, St. Paul
  • Jasmine Christine Sturm, 30, Saint Paul

No suspects had been taken into custody as of Wednesday afternoon.

Here's a look at what we do and don't know at this point.

The circumstances surrounding their deaths

Authorities have revealed how they died, with the medical examiner determining all four victims died from gunshot wounds.

Little else is known, and Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said during a Tuesday news conference there are details they simply cannot talk about, so as not to jeopardize the investigation.

Bygd said they believe the SUV was intentionally driven into the corn field. 

The motive, as of Tuesday afternoon, was a "mystery," he said.

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There had been no indications it may be linked to organized crime, nor anything to that point suggesting the motive was drug-related. New information could change that during the investigation, Bygd added.

Authorities did not have an exact time of death, though Bygd said they believe it was within 24 hours of the SUV's discovery.

He could not say whether the victims had been shot in Dunn County, or killed elsewhere and driven to the location they were found. He also said he did not know the type of firearm used in the killings.

Bygd declined to say how many times each victim was shot, where in the vehicle they were located or to whom the abandoned SUV was registered.

The suspect (or suspects)

Sheriff Bygd repeatedly referred to the "suspect or suspects" during Tuesday's news conference, and indicated he did not know at that point exactly how many suspects might be involved. 

"Everybody is a suspect at this point," he said, noting they're looking into every possibility as the investigation gets going.

Bygd did express confidence the suspect or suspects are not from Dunn County, and said they left the area — presumably in a vehicle — before the abandoned SUV and bodies were found, returning to their "home base." Where that might be, Bygd did not say.

The sheriff said there seems to be "no connection" between the suspect or suspects and the area, other than "possibly randomly driving out of the Twin Cities." Investigators are very confident the victims were "randomly brought to" the corn field in Sheridan Township, he said.

They do not believe the public is in danger.

Authorities have received numerous tips to this point. They're also waiting for more information, including surveillance video from highway or bridge cameras, to come in. It would take several weeks to work through all of that, Bygd said. 

Remembering the victims

Bygd said two of the victims were siblings, while the other two were in a relationship. The Pioneer Press reported Pettus was Sturm's brother; that Sturm was dating Foreman II; and that Sturm was a longtime, close friend of Flug-Presley.

A Go Fund Me for Foreman's family called his death "unexpected and horrifying," saying he loved music and the arts, and was a beloved father of two sons.

A fundraiser for Flug-Presley's family, meanwhile, called the killing of her and her three friend an "unthinkable tragedy." She had two children, 11 and 4 years old.

Bygd said he could not confirm reports the four were at a bar in St. Paul Saturday night, but that investigators were looking into it.

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