Police Say 4 People Found Shot Dead in Van in Wisconsin Were Killed in Minnesota: 'Heartbreaking'
New details in the mysterious case of four people found fatally shot in an SUV in Wisconsin have been revealed.
On Monday, the Saint Paul Police Department announced in a statement that the law enforcement agency will now be leading the investigation as officials believe the crime was committed in Minnesota.
On Sept. 12, two men and two women — identified as Matthew Isiah Pettus, 26, Loyace Foremann III, 35, Jasmine Christine Sturm, 30, and Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, 30 — were found dead in a Wisconsin cornfield. The victims had all died from gunshot wounds, according preliminary autopsy, the Associated Press reported.
Now, the Saint Paul Police department explained in a news release: "A thorough investigation into the four young adults found dead in an abandoned vehicle in rural Wisconsin has revealed the murders occurred in Saint Paul, Minn."
The statement continued, "The four were found by a farmer in a cornfield just outside of the Town of Sheridan Sunday, Sept. 12, and the Dunn County Sheriff's Department originally took the lead in the investigation. But after gathering evidence and information about what happened before and after the bodies were discovered, investigators determined the killings occurred in Minnesota."
Two people were taken into custody last week in connection to the murders, Saint Paul Police revealed. Darren McWright, who also goes by the last name Osborne, was arrested on Sept. 15 and is "being held in the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center on several outstanding warrants, including at least one out of Dunn County."
On Sept. 17, Antoine D. Suggs turned himself in to police in Arizona after police announced that he was wanted for questioning. Per the press release on Monday, Suggs is awaiting extradition to Minnesota.
Speaking on the case, Saint Paul Chief of Police Todd Axtell said in a statement share in the news release: "I spent the weekend mourning the victims' lives with their families, their friends, and our community members, and I feel in my soul how these senseless deaths shook our community to its core."
Axtell continued, adding that the family is in "search of answers."
"We have four young lives — with all of their promise — erased. We have families left with only memories."
Axtell concluded by thanking police: "I'm proud of the work our investigators have put into the case—sleepless nights, days upon days at work, going home only to tuck their kids into bed and then returning to the office. I'm confident their dedication and unrelenting commitment to seeking justice for these four lost lives will soon provide the answers their loved ones so desperately seek."
Mayor Melvin Carter also spoke out, sharing that the deaths are "heartbreaking."
"Losing Jasmine, Loyace, Matthew and Nitosha is one of the most heartbreaking traumas our community has ever endured. While nothing could rationalize this loss, our Saint Paul officers will find the answers we seek, and ensure that anyone involved in this crime is held fully accountable," Carter said in a statement also shared in the press release.
In a news conference last week, police said three of the victims —Pettus, Foremann III, and Sturm — were from St. Paul, Minn. Flug-Presley was from Stillwater, Minnesota. Pettus was Sturm's brother, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Sturm was Foremann's girlfriend.
A GoFundMe page created to offset the funeral expenses for Sturm and Pettus reveals Sturm was a mother to two children, ages 5 and 11, a lover of fashion and "all things Audrey Hepburn" and "very involved in Minneapolis/St. Paul community activism."
Pettus was "infinitely curious and always on the move," per the GoFundMe. "Matthew was a creative and talented musician, teaching himself the piano and the saxophone," the page stated, adding, "Matthew had recently become a new father and he doted on that child as much as he could."
Flug-Presley was a mother to two children, ages 4 and 11, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the victim.
Foremann III was also a parent, according to a GoFundMe page. "His loss was unexpected and horrifying. He leaves behind the broken hearts of his two sons, parents, siblings and many friends," the page stated.
The four, Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said during a news conference, had visited a St. Paul bar on the night of Sept. 11 where they were allegedly seen leaving with someone not in their group.
Police say they received a 911 call around 2:15 p.m. local time on Sunday, Sept. 12, reporting a black SUV driven off of a rural road in the Town of Sheridan. Authorities found the vehicle later that afternoon 50 yards into the cornfield. The victims likely died less than 24 hours before being discovered, per police.
Bygd did not suspect the perpetrator is from the area, adding the cornfield was "was a place these victims were randomly brought."
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"We can't find any connection to this area other than possibly randomly driving out of the Twin Cities," the sheriff said during the news conference.
At the time, he stated there were no known motives, adding, "everybody's a suspect at this point. We're looking at everybody and every possibility."
The Dunn County sheriff's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are also working on the case.
Officials asked anyone with additional information to call 651-266-5650 as the investigation continues.