Authorities suspect gunfire played a part in the 4 deaths in Laurel, NE

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 1:21 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2022 at 4:00 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Neb. (AP) -- Police investigating the killings of four people in a small northeast Nebraska city have arrested a neighbor of the victims.

The Nebraska State Patrol said a police team surrounded then entered a home in Laurel at about 2:30 a.m. Friday after gathering evidence at two burned houses where the four bodies were found Thursday morning.

The Nebraska State Patrol arrested 42-year-old Jason A. Jones, of Laurel on suspicion of homicide. He had been badly burned and was taken to a hospital in Lincoln so has not been formally charged. Those killed were identified as 86-year-old Gene Twiford, 85-year-old Janet Twiford, 55-year-old Dana Twiford and 53-year-old Michele Ebeling.

The latest updates will be posted in this ongoing article.

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LAUREL, Neb. (KTIV) - Authorities are releasing more information on four deaths in the northeast Nebraska community of Laurel.

The Nebraska State Patrol says investigators now believe gunfire played a part in the incidents at both Laurel homes where the bodies were found. They also believe that both the explosion at the house on the 200 block of Elm Street and the fire at the house on the 500 block of Elm Street happened around 3 a.m. NSP says the outside of the house on the 500 block of Elm Street didn’t show any indications of a fire for hours after it started.

Based on that time frame, NSP is requesting anyone that may have seen anything out-of-the-ordinary in Laurel between midnight and 4:00 a.m. to report it immediately. Tips can be reported to (402) 479-4921.

Additionally, with this new information, authorities now believe the previously sought silver sedan reported by a member of the public may have left Laurel much later after the incidents.

Law enforcement is urging anyone in or around Laurel to stay vigilant and report any out-of-the-ordinary activity to 911.

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LAUREL, Neb. (KTIV) - Four people are dead, in two separate homes, in the northeast Nebraska community of Laurel.

Investigators believe there is foul play involved with the deaths but haven’t confirmed a link between the two homes. But law enforcement officials have stated due to their proximity the two incidents could be related.

“It would be a stretch to say that there’s no connection, but it’s very early in the investigation,” said Col. John Bolduc with the Nebraska State Patrol.

The NSP says the incident began around 3 a.m. Thursday morning when the fire department was called to an explosion at a Laurel residence. The house was in the 200 block of Elm Street and when crews arrived they worked to put out the flames. While doing this, authorities say they found one person deceased inside the home.

“Happened to look out the window right at the time. I heard, somebody said there was an explosion but it sounded like a gunshot to me, and I seen somebody go down,” said Alan Pallas, a Laurel resident. “Later on, a few hours later, there was a body out there.”

As crews were responding to that first fire, a second house fire began in the 500 block of Elm Street, just three blocks away from the first house. Upon arriving, they found three people dead inside the home. Both fires were brought under control and crews began investigating the scenes for evidence of what happened.

The identities of the deceased are not being released at this time.

After the second fire, officials got a report of a Black male driving a silver sedan out of town, headed west on Highway 20. Investigators say that suspect may have also picked up a second passenger on their way out of town.

Investigators say accelerants may have been used in the fires. The suspect, or suspects, involved with the fires may have burns on their bodies.

Anyone in Laurel, or in the surrounding area, with information or surveillance video related to this incident is asked to reach out to NSP at (402) 479-4921. Authorities say a public safety team will be in Laurel for the time being to keep the community safe.

“Our hearts go out to the community of Laurel. It’s a close-knight community and we will do our very best to bring this case to a conclusion as soon as we can,” said Col. Bolduc.

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LAUREL, Neb. (KTIV) - The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating a situation involving multiple fatalities in a northeast Nebraska community.

NSP says the situation includes several scenes in Laurel, Nebraska, and is an active investigation. No other information about the fatalities has been released. Authorities say they will provide an update at 3:30 p.m. which we will air in this article and on KTIV’s Facebook page.

An official at Laurel’s city hall told KTIV that law enforcement suggested residents go on lockdown. The reason for the lockdown was not released.

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