Sep. 14—Why did four friends from the Twin Cities lose their lives to gun violence with their bodies discovered in an abandoned vehicle in a cornfield in western Wisconsin?
"That is the mystery," said Damone Presley Sr., whose daughter, Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, was killed. "Hopefully, through the investigation we'll get that answered."
The Dunn County sheriff's office released the names on Tuesday of those found dead on Sunday.
During a press conference Tuedsay afternoon Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said authorities believe they died less than 24 hours from the time they were found. He said there was no known connection between Dunn County and the four.
"We're confident that this was a place these vicitms were randomly brought to," he said.
Flug-Presley, 30, of Stillwater, was with her life-long friend Jasmine Christine Sturm, 30, of St. Paul. One of the men found deceased in the vehicle, Matthew Isiah Pettus, 26, of St. Paul, was Sturm's brother, Presley said. Loyace Foreman III, 35, of St. Paul, was a mutual friend.
SATURDAY NIGHT AT A ST. PAUL BAR
The friends were hanging out on Saturday night at a St. Paul bar, and they got in someone's vehicle when they left, Presley said of what he's been able to piece together.
"Why would this happen?" he said Tuesday. "... It just doesn't make sense."
A 911 caller alerted deputies Sunday to a black SUV that was off a rural road in the Town of Sheridan, which is about 30 minutes north of Menomonie, Wis., according to the Dunn County Sheriff's Office. No arrests have been announced.
Autopsies were conducted by the Ramsey County medical examiner's office, and preliminary information shows each died from gunshot wounds, according to the sheriff's office.
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of these victims," Sheriff Kevin Bygd said in a statement. "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."
St. Paul police homicide investigators are providing assistance when requested, according to a St. Paul police spokesman.
In a Facebook post Monday, sheriff's officials said the four do not appear to have any connection to the area. The posting also said there may have been a second dark-colored SUV traveling with the vehicle that was abandoned.
REMEMBERING THEIR LIVES
Foreman's mother said Tuesday that Loyace was their only son.
"He was a devoted father to two amazing sons," said Jessica Foreman. "He was a doting uncle to his four nieces and nephews. He was the protector of his three sisters. He was not perfect and we loved him unconditionally. He left an unfillable void."
Loyace Foreman was an independent contractor in demolition who loved to draw art freehand, his mother said.
Flug-Presley also leaves behind two children — they are 4 and 11.
"She was an outgoing person, a very good mother, exceptional daughter," Presley said. "She was very vibrant, she had a good heart, someone who would lift up your spirits."
Deanna Weniger and the Associated Press contributed to this report.