Darren McWright, 56, who is Suggs’s father, has been charged by Wisconsin prosecutors with four counts of hiding a corpse. McWright, of St. Paul, was arrested Thursday in Minnesota. Prosecutors say McWright has denied knowing there were bodies in the car that he allegedly helped hide in a cornfield in western Wisconsin.
Prosecutors allege Suggs killed the four friends between 3:30 a.m. and 3:48 a.m. on Sept. 12 along West Seventh Street in St. Paul, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by The Washington Post. They all died of gunshot wounds to the head, authorities said. Suggs’s bloody driver’s license and six shell casings were found in the vehicle, police said.
A motive for the killings is not listed in the complaint.
The Arizona man, who reportedly had some sort of relationship with Flug-Presley, sought the help of his father shortly after the killings, prosecutors allege. Surveillance video from a western Wisconsin gas station hours later showed the car at a pump with one victim slumped over in the front passenger seat, which matches surveillance footage from earlier in the morning in St. Paul — roughly 70 miles away.
“Suggs told his father that he snapped and shot a couple of people,” the complaint states. “Suggs’s father gave his son a ride to Minnesota from Wisconsin after they left the [car] in the cornfield.”
It is unclear whether Suggs or McWright have an attorney.
Jessica Foreman, the mother of Loyace Foreman III, told The Post that she and the families of the victims are having a difficult time grappling with the details of the murder allegations.
“Literally there aren’t any words,” she said. “My mind is struggling to comprehend how a human being can drive around for upward of seven hours with four corpses.”
Foreman, who had told The Post that she hoped police would find “who did this,” said she has also found it difficult to process how McWright allegedly assisted his son.
She added, “While I understand family loyalty and the instinct to protect our children … I can never understand how a parent could choose to participate in the destruction of so many lives.”
Damone Presley, Flug-Presley’s father, told Minnesota CBS affiliate WCCO that he was “so grateful” that Suggs would be charged with murder.
The announcement of the charges against Suggs is the latest development in a quadruple murder case that authorities previously dubbed “a mystery” and family members have called “a coldblooded tragedy.”
“Obviously we’ve had homicides in the last several years,” Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said at a Sept. 14 news conference, “but something of this magnitude … this is a first.”
According to the complaint, witnesses told police that Sturm, Pettus and Foreman III were at Shamrocks, a bar and restaurant in St. Paul where Sturm and Pettus worked, until around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 12. Pettus and Sturm were half-siblings, while Foreman III and Sturm were in a relationship.
The group then went to a different bar, White Squirrel, where an employee saw a woman who looked like Flug-Presley arguing with a man, according to the complaint. The employee later identified the man in a photo lineup as Suggs. The employee said Suggs uttered something about “having six children and this happening every time he comes back to Minnesota,” according to the complaint.
The Wisconsin criminal complaint against McWright details how Flug-Presley’s aunt told authorities that her niece had a “thing” with Suggs and that he would travel from Arizona to spend time with her. Damone Presley, her father, previously told The Post that she asked him if he could watch one of her children while she went out with her friends.
The group left White Squirrel, and Flug-Presley, Pettus and Sturm were seen getting into a black Mercedes-Benz SUV, according to the complaint against Suggs. The Arizona man and the SUV returned to the area around 3 a.m., and authorities believe Suggs killed them all within the hour.
Surveillance video from Seventh Street and Walnut Street in St. Paul showed Flug-Presley appearing to be “already slumped over in the front passenger seat” at 3:48 a.m. on Sept. 12, the complaint says.
Around 5 a.m., Suggs called McWright and showed up to where he was staying, requesting a favor, according to authorities: Suggs asked his father to follow him in his mother’s car, a Nissan Rogue. That’s when Suggs allegedly told his father he had “snapped,” and prosecutors say McWright then followed him to Wisconsin and gave his son a ride back to the Twin Cities.
Though McWright has denied knowing his son was allegedly transporting dead bodies inside his car, surveillance videos shows the father walking up to the black SUV and handing something to Suggs on the driver’s side, according to the complaint. Prosecutors allege that McWright also stood outside the vehicle’s open passenger window as it was parked at a gas station.
At 2:18 p.m., the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a farmer in the area about “people in a vehicle that were not moving,” Bygd said. About 12 minutes later, authorities found a black SUV with Minnesota license plates that was parked in a field of tall cornstalks.
Investigators found the four people had been fatally shot in the head, according to the complaint. Flug-Presley was shot in the mouth; Pettus suffered two gunshot wounds to the back of his head; Sturm was shot in her left cheek; and Foreman III was shot in the face and on the top of the head.
Presley, who had grown concerned when his daughter did not return text messages or voice mails, said he was notified early on Sept. 13 that four bodies had been found in an abandoned vehicle in Wisconsin.
“I was bewildered because she doesn’t know anybody in Wisconsin. The first thing I said was, ‘Wisconsin? Are you sure?’ ” he told The Post. “That’s when we started assuming that something tragic had happened to her.”
In a statement, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi thanked law enforcement for working “tirelessly to find the truth.” He also expressed his grief for the families.
“We are greatly relieved that the police investigation has yielded enough information to bring forward criminal charges today in this very disturbing case,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims.”