Mara H. Gottfried
Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
After four people from the Twin Cities were found fatally shot in Dunn County, Wis., investigators used surveillance videos and cellphone records to piece together how they got from a St. Paul bar to an abandoned SUV in a cornfield about 70 miles away.
Darren Lee Osborne, 56, was jailed in St. Paul, and law enforcement is searching for another suspect who is believed to be his son, Antoine Darnique Suggs, 38.
On Sunday afternoon, a farmer in the Town of Sheridan, Wis., found an abandoned vehicle. 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 criminal complaint provided some information about how Suggs was connected to one of the four, but didn’t detail what led to the shootings.
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.
People saw the pair at the White Squirrel Bar on St. Paul’s West Seventh Street on Saturday night into early Sunday.
The motive is “still quite a mystery,” Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said Thursday. “Hopefully, when Mr. Suggs is arrested he can shed some light on that.”
The four victims were each found with at least one gunshot wound to the head, according to the complaint filed against Osborne.
Osborne is charged with four counts of hiding a corpse, as a party to a crime. The warrant for Suggs is for the same offense, according to Bygd.
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, Bygd said.
Suggs is believed to be in the Twin Cities area, and any information about his whereabouts should be called into local law enforcement or the Dunn County sheriff’s office, Bygd said.
“Suggs should be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached,” according to a Thursday statement from the sheriff.
Investigators on the case have “been working night and day, literally,” Bygd said. “They’re working very diligently to bring some closure to this.”
WHAT INVESTIGATORS PIECED TOGETHER
The Dunn County sheriff’s office received a report at 2:18 p.m. Sunday about multiple people who weren’t moving in a vehicle that was in a cornfield. The driver’s seat was empty. Flug-Presley’s body was in the front passenger seat, and her friends were in the back seat. An Arizona photo identification card for Suggs was found in the vehicle.
Law enforcement talked to the co-owner of the black 2008 Mercedes-Benz, who reported giving the vehicle to Suggs.
After the sheriff’s office issued a short press release on Monday about the death investigation, they received a tip from someone who saw males driving two vehicles near the Sheridan Town Hall between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. One was wearing a shirt that said, “I am black history.”
A deputy went to a gas station and reviewed video surveillance. It showed a black Nissan Rouge pull up to a gas pump at 12:07 p.m. and a man wearing a “I am black history” shirt went in to the store and made a purchase. A black Mercedes pulled next to the Nissan, and the drivers appeared to exchange something. The Mercedes drove away, followed by the Nissan.
The Nissan’s license plate could be seen in the gas station’s surveillance video, which led investigators to St. Paul. They found the vehicle and talked to a brother of Suggs.
He said Antoine Suggs was visiting from Arizona and he uses his mother’s Nissan when he’s in town. The investigator showed Suggs’ brother a surveillance photo from the gas station and he identified the man exiting the store as Osborne, his biological father. Bygd said it’s his understanding that Osborne is also Antoine Sugg’s father.
Suggs’ brother said he doesn’t talk to his father a lot and the last time was about 9 p.m. Sunday. Osborne told him that he had his mother’s Nissan, and would leave the keys in the vehicle for them.
WITNESSES, SURVEILLANCE VIDEOS
A witness told law enforcement that she last saw Flug-Presley, Sturm and Pettus near an unknown St. Paul bar early Sunday. They got in a black sport-utility vehicle that a male was driving.
Meanwhile, someone at the White Squirrel, which is on West Seventh Street near Randolph Avenue, reported that Flug-Presley bought a shot of tequila at 1:43 a.m. Sunday and handed it to Suggs. Street camera footage from the area showed a black SUV at 2:08 a.m. Officers could see Sturm run and enter the SUV on the same side of the vehicle where her body was later found.
After the killings, a cellphone was collected from Pettus’ pants pocket, and a forensic examination showed a new contact was created on his phone on Sunday at 3:08 a.m. It was named “Tweezey” — which matched a tattoo on Suggs’ arm — and was Suggs’ phone number.
At 4:13 a.m., a vehicle with the same license plate of the Mercedes was seen on video surveillance from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. A male, who an investigator believed matched a previous booking photo of Suggs, exited the vehicle. The front seat passenger appeared to be a female and didn’t leave the vehicle.
The complaint didn’t indicate where they went from there.
“The investigation has revealed that no one has had any contact with the victims since 2:08 a.m. when the victims were last seen leaving the White Squirrel bar,” the complaint added.
ARREST IN ST. PAUL
St. Paul officers arrested Osborne, who is also known as Darren Lee McWright, of St. Paul, in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood on Wednesday about 8:30 p.m., according to police.
Officers found Osborne, who they knew had several warrants, and took him into custody without incident at Frank Street and Minnehaha Avenue, according to a police spokesman.
A Wisconsin court record did not appear to list an attorney for Osborne.
Law enforcement isn’t looking for anyone else other than Suggs in the case, Bygd said.
The four people who were killed were mothers and fathers, and their children need justice, said Ashli Jones, a sister of Foreman. She’s grateful an arrest was made.
“We know that was the hard work of many people,” Jones said. “… We’re hoping that more people will step up because now is not the time to hide somebody that could do something like this. This is where the community comes together.”
Damone Presley Sr., Flug-Presley’s father, said Osborne grew up in the same Rondo and Frogtown community that he did and they were regulars at the Oxford Community Center. Presley’s father also played a role in mentoring Osborne.
“Our family has been active in the community and never had any problems or situations with people,” said Presley, who expressed anger over the alleged involvement of someone he and his family knew.
Bygd previously said there was no known connection between Dunn County and the victims, and they were “confident that this was a place these victims were randomly brought to.”
The warrants that Osborne is being held on are for a third-degree assault — substantial bodily harm case from 2021; a misdemeanor assault case from 2020; a disorderly conduct case from 2021; and a driving under the influence case from 2017, according to the jail log.
The third-degree assault case stemmed from May, when a 48-year-old man reported being “knocked out” outside a gas station at Snelling and Minnehaha avenues in St. Paul. Surveillance video showed the man and a suspect, later identified as Osborne, appeared “to have an exchange” before Osborne followed him, according to the criminal complaint in the case.
The man appeared to photograph or video the suspect with his cellphone, and then the suspect tackled him and stomped on his head four times before leaving, according to the complaint. A warrant was issued for Osborne’s arrest.
Court records show Suggs was found guilty of aggravated assault domestic violence — impede breathing in Arizona in 2019, and was put on probation for three years.
In Ramsey County, Suggs received a three-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty in 2009 to possessing a gun after being convicted of a violent crime within 10 years. He also pleaded guilty to illegal gun possession in 2002.
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