Four people were found dead of gunshot wounds Sunday, Sept. 12, in an SUV abandoned in a cornfield in the Dunn County town of Sheridan, located south of Barron County’s town and village of Prairie Farm.
On Tuesday, Sept. 14, the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department identified the deceased as Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, female, 30, of Stillwater, Minn.; Matthew Isiah Pettus, male, 26, of Saint Paul, Minn.; Loyace Foreman III, male, 35, of Saint Paul; and Jasmine Christine Sturm, female, 30, of Saint Paul.
Autopsies were performed on all four victims on Monday, Sept. 13, by Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office and the preliminary examination shows that all four victims died from gunshot wounds.
Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said there is no danger to the public at this time.
“We are now confident that the suspect or suspects left the area before the SUV or bodies were ever discovered,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
No arrests had been made as of press time and Bygd said there is no known motive for the killings.
The bodies were discovered by a local farmer around 2 p.m. Sunday in a black SUV driven into a standing cornfield off CTH VVV east of the Sheridan town hall.
Bygd said the victims had no connection to the area and police had no reason to suspect that any locals were involved.
“We’re confident that this was a place victims were randomly brought to,” said Bygd.
Pettus and Sturm were siblings, Foreman was Sturm’s boyfriend, and Flug-Presley was a close friend of Sturm’s, according to reporting by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that a family member of one of the victim’s said they were hanging out at a St. Paul bar Saturday night.
Bygd said the time of the deaths is unknown, and there is no known connection to drug activity or organized crime at this point. He said the department would be viewing surveillance video and following up on leads.
“We feel like we’ve developed some good information from the tips,” he said. “We’re looking at every possibility. Hopefully, arrests will be made soon.”
At the press conference, Bygd held back on providing some information for the benefit of the investigative process and building a solid case.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of these victims. I wish we could release more details of our investigation but we have to balance the public’s desire to know the details with running the risk of harming our investigation and losing evidence for building a good homicide case,” he said.
Bygd said several other departments, “too many to count,” were assisting in the case.
The public is asked to contact the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office at 715-232-1348 with any information that might be related to this incident or may have seen a black SUV with Minnesota plates in that area. There may have been a second dark colored SUV traveling with the black SUV that may be related, according to the department.
All four victims have children surviving them. Online fundraisers have been established to help the families.