Mystery as 4 Friends Found Shot to Death in Wisconsin Cornfield, Police Have Scant Leads and No Motive

The gruesome discovery was made Sunday afternoon.
A Wisconsin farmer made the gruesome discovery Sunday afternoon.CBS Minnesota

"That one is a mystery," said Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd when asked about a motive for the four homicides.

A Wisconsin cornfield is the surreal scene of a grisly murder investigation after four friends were found shot to death in an abandoned SUV, leaving law enforcement mystified and families staggered by grief.

A farmer made the grisly discovery Sunday afternoon, and days later, authorities say they have scant clues and no suspects.

"That one is a mystery," Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd told reporters at a Tuesday news conference when asked if there was an apparent motive for the quadruple homicide. “Obviously we’ve had homicides in the last several years,” Bygd said, “but something of this magnitude … this is a first.

"Everybody's a suspect at this point," he said. "We're looking at everybody and every possibility." 

An autopsy conducted Monday determined all four died from gunshot wounds, the sheriff said.

The four friends, all from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, had been out Saturday night at a St. Paul tavern, authorities said, and they are believed to have left in the company of an unknown person.

They were identified as: Jasmine Christine Sturm, 30; Matthew Isiah Pettus, 26; and Loyace Foreman III, all from St. Paul. Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, 30, was from Stillwater, Minnesota.

“This is a coldblooded tragedy,” the father of Flug-Presley, Damone Presley, told The Washington Post. “They killed my daughter.”

She had two children, ages 4 and 10, he said. 

The cornfield is about 70 miles from Minneapolis, in the small town of Sheridan. The black SUV had been driven about 50 feet into the tall corn, on the land of local farmer. The sheriff said it appeared the victims had been "randomly" left in the field and had been dead for less than 24 hours before their bodies were found.

Investigators suspect a second vehicle may have followed the car containing the victims and then picked up the killer or killers and left the area. The victims had no connection to Dunn County, the sheriff said.

"Somebody knows something. This doesn't just happen," Presley told CBS Minnesota. "This is not a freak accident. Please somebody say something."

Presley said the SUV belonged to a friend of his daughter. Bygd declined to identify the vehicle's registered owner.

State and local authorities are requesting and reviewing surveillance cameras from bridges and highways, Bygd said.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Dunn County Sheriff's Office at 715-232-1348.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of these victims,” Bygd said. “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.”

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