The murder of his daughter left Damone Presley Sr. angry and wracked with grief, but it was also confusing.
First there was the discovery of her body, tucked into an abandoned SUV with three others in a Wisconsin cornfield more than an hour from her home. "Who could have done this?" and "Why here?" he wondered at a vigil held earlier this week near the rural site.
Then came Thursday, when authorities told him that they had arrested a 56-year-old St. Paul man who Presley knew growing up — Darren Lee McWright. Investigators also were searching for another man familiar to Presley, Antoine Darnique Suggs, 38, who Presley knew as McWright's son and as someone who had hung around his daughter.
When McWright was a young man he had been mentored and coached by Presley's father, Dennis, at St. Paul's Oxford Community Center on Lexington Parkway, Presley said. The two men ran into each other a month ago, Presley said, and McWright expressed condolences for the death of Dennis, who passed away late last year.
"I'm just not understanding," Presley said Thursday.
McWright's arrest comes four days after the discovery of the victims by a local farmer near Wheeler, Wis. All had been shot. The dead included Presley's daughter, Nitosha Flug-Presley, 30, of Stillwater; Matthew Pettus, 26, of St. Paul; Jasmine C. Sturm, 30, of St. Paul; and Loyace Foreman III, 35. Sturm and Flug-Presley were friends. Sturm was also Pettus' half-sister and Foreman's girlfriend.
Dunn County court records show McWright is being held on four recommended counts of hiding a corpse as a party to a crime.
The Dunn County Sheriff's Office said Suggs remains at large, possibly in the Twin Cities, and is considered armed and dangerous.
Public records show Suggs living recently in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he's listed as the manager and owner of Darnque Apparel. He also has older addresses in St. Paul on Thomas, Edmund, Van Buren and Front avenues.
McWright, who goes by the last name Osborne, though it's not his legal name, was arrested without incident at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at N. Frank Street and Minnehaha Avenue E., according to St. Paul police. He had three active warrants for his arrest, including at least one from Dunn County, police added.
McWright's criminal record includes several charges over the past 20 years for drunken driving and domestic assault.
Presley said he didn't know of any problems between McWright or Suggs and members of his own family.
"He frequently hung around some younger cousins of mine," Presley said of Suggs. He said he thinks he remembers Suggs at gatherings that Nitosha had with her friends.
"I'm feeling confident that justice is coming," said Presley, saying he was thankful for the work of the Dunn County Sheriff's Office and the St. Paul Police Department.
When Presley saw McWright recently it was at the Little Six Casino in Prior Lake. He and McWright reminisced about old friends and McWright told Presley how much he respected his father, Presley said.
The family suffered another loss on Wednesday, when Presley's grandmother, Helouise Neal, 95, of St. Paul, died after recently suffering from kidney failure, Presley said.
Nitosha had helped Presley's mother, Nieeta Presley, with Helouise as they tried to make her comfortable last weekend.
"That was Nitosha's last act," Damone Presley said. She went out with her friends that night, and Presley never saw her alive again.
Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329