Four Friends Spent Saturday Night in a Bar. The Next Day They Were Found Murdered in a Cornfield.
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The FBI was called in to assist local authorities in rural Wisconsin after four young Minnesota friends were found murdered and "accidentally" left in an abandoned SUV in a corn field.
Authorities in Dunn County, Wisconsin, where the four-fold murder victims were discovered on Sunday, made no secret of the fact that they were stunned by the crime.
“That is unusual for this area. Obviously we've had murders in the past few years, but something on this scale - [I'm working] on my 33rd year working for Dunn County, and this is the first time, ”said Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd , at a press conference late Tuesday.
Perhaps most startlingly, the victims were identified as longtime friends from the Twin Cities area - none of whom appeared to have any connection to the Wisconsin area where they were found.
"We can't find a connection to this area other than possibly driving out of the Twin Cities by accident," said Bygd.
The victims - 30-year-old Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, 30-year-old Jasmine Christine Sturm, 26-year-old Matthew Isiah Pettus and 35-year-old Loyace Foreman III - died from gunshot wounds, according to police. They are said to have been killed less than 24 hours before they were found by a farmer on Sunday morning.
Flight Presley and Sturm are described as close friends; Pettus was reportedly Sturm's half-brother, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Foreman was her boyfriend.
"This is a freak thing that should never have happened," said Zach Pettus, brother of Matthew Pettus and half-brother of Sturm, the Star Tribune. He said he saw no reason why anyone in the longtime group of friends should be targeted.
"We knew something was wrong when [Sturm] didn't respond to our messages," he was quoted as saying. "We have an idea who did it, but I don't know if to say anything now."
Sturm and Foreman leave behind five children. Pettus had a 3-year-old daughter and Flight Presley also leaves two young children.
The group reportedly dated Saturday night at a bar in St. Paul, about 65 miles from where they would be found the next day. But they were dating someone just hours before they showed up dead, according to Flug-Presley's father.
Damone Presley Sr. told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press the group left the bar together and got into someone else's vehicle.
But he said he didn't know anything else.
"That's the secret," he was quoted as saying to the newspaper. "Hopefully the investigation will answer that," he said, adding that it "just doesn't make sense."
Police have yet to name suspects or reveal details of a possible motive, with Bygd going so far on Tuesday that even the motive was “a mystery” to investigators at the time.
However, authorities said they do not believe the quadruple murder was related to drug activity or organized crime.
The FBI field office in Minneapolis is helping the sheriff's office investigate the gruesome murders, and it could become a joint investigation if the murders are found to be committed in Minnesota, an FBI spokesman told Pioneer Press.
According to Bygd, the investigators are beginning to investigate everyone the Freundeskreis knew.
"Everyone is a suspect at this point," he said.
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