When Naressa Turner left Atlanta last week, she told relatives that she was afraid she would be killed upon returning to her home in St. Paul.
Months ago, relatives said, someone posted threats against the aspiring rapper on Facebook and other social media sites, possibly because people believed she had witnessed a murder earlier this year in St. Paul.
On Sunday, the 20-year-old woman's worst fears came true when she was found shot to death in a vehicle parked in an alley on St. Paul's East Side.
"This was the kind of violence she was trying to avoid" said Tara Green, an aunt.
St. Paul police said officers responded to a report of shots fired about 2:45 p.m. Sunday. When they arrived, they found a woman shot to death in a vehicle parked behind the Pentecostal Church of God.
Although police had not released the victim's name as of Sunday night, relatives at the scene in the 900 block of Reaney Avenue identified her as Turner.
"There's no indication that this was a random act," police spokesman Howie Padilla said.
Turner's relatives said they, too, believe she was targeted.
"She was getting a lot of threats," said Laverne Jackson, an aunt. "She was scared. She was trying to hide. She knew it was going to happen."
Jackson said she talked to the driver of the SUV in which her niece was found, who told her he saw "a man wearing a mask" near the vehicle before he exited to go into a home off the alley.
"He said he didn't think anything of it," said Jackson, who believes her niece's death was planned. "She was set up. How else did they know where she was going to be?"
Police said that they are not releasing a motive and have no suspects in custody.
Padilla said investigators will follow all leads in the city's 14th homicide, including whether threats against Turner were posted on social media.
Padilla said it's too early in the investigation to tell whether the relatives' suspicions are valid, but "we're going to look at everything."
Relatives said Turner, who had attended the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul, denied knowing anything about a killing in the city.
"It's crazy; it started with a rumor on Facebook," said Cario Turner, an uncle. "She said it was just rumors and that she didn't see anything."
But Turner took the threats seriously enough to move to Atlanta with her 3-year-old daughter during the summer.
"All I know is that she was scared," Jackson said. "We all took it seriously. We were all letting her stay from home to home. When she got back we were all happy to see her, but we were also scared."
Turner recently decided to return, although relatives said they were unsure why she came back to St. Paul.
"She wanted to get away," Green said. "I don't know why she came back. I do know that I wish she hadn't."
Heron Marquez Estrada • 952-746-3281