The FBI has been called in to assist local police after four Minnesota natives were found fatally shot inside an SUV abandoned in a cornfield in Dunn County, Wisconsin, this week. The heinous — and mysterious — crime has reportedly rocked the rural farming community and left local law enforcement perplexed.
“It’s highly unusual for this area. Obviously we’ve had homicides in the last several years, but something of this magnitude — [I’m] working on my 33rd year working for Dunn County, and this is a first,” Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said at a news conference Tuesday, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Bygd added that he suspects the killer or killers committed the quadruple homicide elsewhere — perhaps near the Twin Cities area — before fleeing the area with the four victims in tow. Having traveled roughly 70 miles northeast of St. Paul, the theory goes, the killer or killers arrived in the tiny town of Sheridan, Wisconsin, where they drove the SUV 50 yards into a cornfield and took off.
“We don’t believe they were locals,” Bygd said of the victims. “We can’t find any connection to this area, other than perhaps randomly driving out of the Twin Cities.”
He added that he has a “very high degree of certainty” that the suspect or suspects are no longer in the area. When asked about a possible motive, the sheriff said, “That one is a mystery.”
The victims — 26-year-old Matthew Isiah Pettus, 30-year-old Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, 30-year-old Jasmine Christine Sturm, and 35-year-old Loyace Foreman III — were found unresponsive in the SUV late Sunday night, all having suffered from gunshot wounds. Police said they likely died within 24 hours of being discovered. All four were mothers and fathers. They leave behind eight young children.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the victims knew each other. Sturm and Pettus were half-siblings, while Foreman and Sturm were dating, and Flug-Presley and Sturm were described as close friends. Family members told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that the group had reportedly been together at a bar in St. Paul Saturday night before leaving in someone else’s car.
Zach Pettus, Matthew Pettus’ brother, was quoted by the Star Tribune as saying, “We knew something was wrong when [Sturm] didn’t respond to our messages. … We have an idea who did it, but I don’t know if I should say something now.”
Investigators are now combing through traffic cameras for clues and are asking anyone with information about the incident to come forward.
Homicide investigation underway after 4 Minnesotans found dead in abandoned SUV in Wisconsin | FOX 9