ST. PAUL — Family members of four east metro residents shot dead and found in a Wisconsin cornfield last week had a common message to the public Sunday, Sept. 19, during a vigil and news conference: If you know something, say something.
Two men were arrested last week in connection with the slayings. But some family members at Sunday’s vigil at Mount Olivet Church said they believe there are other suspects out there.
Last Sunday, Sept. 12, a farmer in the Town of Sheridan, Wisconsin, found an abandoned vehicle in a cornfield. Inside were the bodies of Jasmine Christine Sturm, 30, of St. Paul; her brother, Matthew Isiah Pettus, 26, of St. Paul; her boyfriend, Loyace Foreman III, 35, of St. Paul, and her lifelong friend, Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, 30, of Stillwater. The last known contact anyone had with the four was at 2:08 a.m. Sept. 12 when they were seen leaving a St. Paul bar.
Sunday’s event with the families of Flug-Presley and Foreman III included statements by St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, St. Paul Fire Chief Butch Inks, and Mayor Melvin Carter.
“If you see something, say something,” Loyace Foreman II said at the vigil. His words were echoed and chanted by other family members and the crowd at the event.
When asked if he had a message for the suspects, he said, “I feel for you. I don’t know what type of mind, heart or spirit could do something like this to four young spirits.”
Damone Presley, father of Flug-Presley, repeated the message. “If someone knows something, say something,” he said.
Having two suspects in custody brought him some relief, he said, but it won’t bring back the four who were killed.
“I was relieved where I could at least breathe a little bit,” he said. “My daddy would say, ‘You do the crime, it’s time to do the time. You have two suspects. Justice is due.”
St. Paul activist Tyrone Terrill pleaded with the suspect or suspects to come forward.
“Be a man,” he said. “Give them some answers. The families have a right to know what happened. You can never have total healing without total truth.”
While the families want and need answers, he said, ultimately that’s not what matters, Presley said.
“You can’t help but feel that this nightmare, this attack, this tragedy, is an attack on all of us,” Carter said.
“On behalf of the city of St. Paul (know) that we take it personally and that our officers are leaving no stone unturned,” he said.
Carter asked for those who know something to come forward.
“When somebody inflicts deep, everlasting, unfixable harm on our community, when you stand up and tell the truth, stand up and let every single person who inflicted this nightmare on us … that’s the only way to help, to heal, to move us forward.”
Axtell said his department is working with several agencies to solve the murders, saying “All hands are on deck.”
“It’s very personal. … I want you to know the St. Paul Police Department takes this personally, it touches us deeply, it makes us want to work harder to bring justice to the families who need the answers,” he said.
Jessica Foreman, Loyace’s mother, said her wish is that the suspects and their children and grandchildren “get to know Jesus” to break the cycle of violence.
Antoine Darnique Suggs, 38, of Phoenix, and his father Darren Lee Osborne, 56, of St. Paul, are both in custody in connection with the killings. Both are charged with four counts of hiding a corpse, as a party to a crime, in Dunn County, Wisconsin. More serious charges could be brought against one or both men in Wisconsin or Minnesota when it’s determined where the four people were killed, Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said Thursday, Sept. 16.
Flug-Presley and Suggs were seen together at the White Squirrel Bar on West Seventh Street near Randolph Avenue late Saturday night into early Sunday morning.
Suggs would fly in from Arizona and see Flug-Presley, an aunt of the woman told a sheriff’s office investigator. Flug-Presley’s mother reported to another investigator that she knew her daughter was recently with a man named Antoine.
Sturm and Pettit were brother and sister.
Further details about the four victims were found on their GoFundMe pages.
A joint fundraising page was set up for Sturm and Pettit who are siblings.
“From day one her bright eyes, zest for life, and infectious smile captivated everyone around her. Jasmine absolutely loved fashion, all things Audrey Hepburn, and was very involved in Minneapolis/St. Paul community activism. Jasmine loved and doted on her (two) children (5 and 11) and worked very hard to be an engaged and supportive mother,” the page said.
“Nothing and no one could slow Matt (Pettit) down. Matthew was infinitely curious and always on the move. Matthew and Jasmine shared a strong bond and were inseparable as children. Like his father, the late MCA recording artist Giorge Pettus, Matthew was a creative and talented musician, teaching himself the piano and the saxophone. Matthew had recently become a new father and he doted on that child as much as he could.”
Ashli Jones set up a GoFundMe page for her brother, Loyace Foreman III, and his children.
“My big brother Loyace III was a son, father, brother and friend,’ Jones wrote on his GoFundMe page. “He loved art and music. His loss was unexpected and horrifying. He leaves behind the broken hearts of his two sons, parents, siblings and many friends.”
Another page was set up for the children of Nitosha Presley by her father, Damone Presley.
“My daughter was a loving and caring mother of 2 children that are left behind. All of your help and support will be truly appreciated as they continue to live their lives,” Presley wrote on her GoFundMe page.