The impact the four Laurel victims had on the community

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Three of the four victims of the homicides, in Laurel, were laid to rest today.

Gene, Janet, and Dana Twiford’s memorial service was held at United Lutheran Church in Laurel.

One week after the murders, many living in Laurel continue searching for answers.

“Shock, that this couldn’t happen here in this little town of ours. I think a lot of people in the community just didn’t know how to react,” said Brenda Whalen the co-owner of Laurel’s Hometown Market.

A city of just under 1,000 people had lost 4 of its own.

The city is small enough you can see one of the crime scenes from the local grocery store.

“To be able to see it outside our store windows all day long, was a terrible gut wrenching feeling,” said Whalen

She says so many people have said that “things like this” don’t happen in Laurel.

But, there is a shared sense that the close knit community will pull even closer together to help heal.

“Now we have this tragic event, but it has brought everybody closer because of what happened. The event last night with the car show, they think 750 people were served last night. That’s almost this whole community. There were strangers, there were people that came from out of town to that came to visit and support our little town,” said Whalen.

Strangers that came into the community Thursday night were welcomed with open arms... a reflection of how all four victims lived.

Michelle Ebeling, who had moved to Laurel in the past few years, got to experience the welcoming feeling of the community

“Michelle would come into the store sometimes 2 or 3 times a day so we got to know Michelle very well, she loved to talk, believe me she’d talk,” said Whalen

The Twiford’s were well known in the community.

“Gene was hear almost everyday for his oranges every morning you know, he’d stop in and give us a hard time... his wife and his daughter were just always very pleasant too, they were just very great people to be around, smiles on their face,” said Whalen.

People enjoyed Gene’s joking spirit, and the smiling faces of Janet and Dana.

Fond memories, never to be forgotten.

Copyright 2022 KTIV. All rights reserved.