WI sheriff: Motive a mystery in killings of 4 Minnesotans found in abandoned SUV

A man stands in front of a podium.
Sheriff Kevin Bygd speaks during a press conference addressing the discovery of four Twin Cities residents found shot to death in an abandoned SUV in rural Dunn County, Wis.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Updated: Sept. 15, 6:56 p.m. | Posted: Sept. 14, 2:03 p.m.

Four Twin Cities residents found shot to death in an abandoned SUV in rural Dunn County, Wis., have no apparent ties to the county, and authorities don’t believe the person or people who did the killings are local or still in the area, Sheriff Kevin Bygd told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Asked about a motive, he said, “That one is a mystery. No, we do not know a motive yet.”

The victims are Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, 30, of Stillwater; Matthew Isiah Pettus, 26, of St. Paul; Loyace Foreman III, 35, of St. Paul; and Jasmine Christine Sturm, 30, of St. Paul. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner said they all died from gunshot wounds.

The vehicle and bodies were found by a farmer in Sheridan Township about 50 yards into his cornfield alongside a rural road around 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 

Family members say the two men and two women had been together at a bar Saturday night St. Paul.

Bygd said that two of the victims were a brother and sister and that another was the boyfriend of one of the victims. He wasn’t more specific. He guessed the bodies were discovered within 24 hours of the victims being killed.

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“We’re confident that this was the place where these victims were randomly brought,” he added, saying someone intentionally drove the SUV off the road and into the tall corn.

Siblings Pettus and Sturm worked at Shamrocks in St. Paul, according to manager Katie Schille.

Schille said Pettus started working there a week ago, but Sturm was employed at the bar and restaurant for a year.

"Jasmine was extremely fun-loving. She would come in with a positive attitude, ready to go for her shift. She was fun to work alongside of, she always was talking about her baby boys. She was a great mom," Schille said.

The Dunn County sheriff said he believes the shooter or shooters left the area in a vehicle. Authorities are collecting highway and bridge camera video now seeking clues. “Everybody’s a suspect at this point,” he said. “We’re looking at everybody and every possibility.”

The FBI Minneapolis field office is assisting the sheriff’s office, said FBI spokesperson Kevin Smith.

Watch the Dunn County sheriff’s Tuesday briefing to reporters:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.