Sept. 15 (UPI) — Authorities said Tuesday they are investigating the deaths of four people from Minnesota whose bodies were found over the weekend in an SUV abandoned in a western Wisconsin cornfield.
Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd told reporters during an afternoon press conference that preliminary autopsies that came back a day prior show that all four died from gunshot wounds.
Bygd said there is little he can say about the ongoing investigation, but the connection between the suspect or suspects, the victims and Sheridan Township, located about 70 miles east of Saint Paul, Minn., is unknown.
The motive behind the slaying was also unknown.
“That one is a mystery,” he said.
Police said they were informed of the bodies Sunday afternoon by a 911 call concerning the discovery of people unresponsive in a black SUV parked in a cornfield.
Bygd said they believe the unknown number of suspects left the township after abandoning the vehicle and that the four people were killed less than 24 hours before their discovery.
“We don’t believe they were locals,” he said about the suspects. “So we believe they went back to their home base.”
The victims have been identified as Saint Paul, Minn., residents Matthew Isiah Pettus, 26, Loyace Foreman III, 35, and Jasmine Christine Sturm, 30. The fourth victim, Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, 30, was a resident of Stillwater, Minn.
Zach Pettus told The Star Tribune that Matthew Pettus was his brother and Sturm was his half-sister who was dating Foreman while Flug-Presley was a close friend.
“This is a freak thing that never should have happened,” he said. “There is nothing that indicated this would have happened.”
Bygd said they can’t find any reason why their bodies would have been found in the cornfield other than “possibly randomly driving out of the Twin Cities.”
Bygd said the homicide was “highly unusual” for the township.
“Obviously, we’ve had homicides in the last several years, but something of this magnitude — I’ve been working on my 33rd-year working for Dunn county and this is a first,” he said.
Concerning who may be responsible for the crime, he said “everybody’s a suspect at this point.”
“We’re looking at everybody and every possibility,” he said.