State patrol arrests suspect in multi-fatality incident

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Nebraska State Patrol (NSP)personnel, along with several other agencies, conducted a press conference in Laurel Friday morning (Aug. 5) to release more information and announce the arrest of a suspect  in conjunction with a multi-fatality incident in Laurel.

During Friday's press conference Colonel Bolduc told those in attendance there will be "indescrible grief and betrayal of trust in the community in coming days."

He said that based on physical evidence from both crime scenes, Jason A. Jones, 42, of Laurel was taken into custody at approximately 2:30 a.m. today (Friday) at his home, lcoated at 206 Elm Street in Laurel.

Jones was located in a bedroom, with severe burns on his body and has been transported to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Lincoln for treatment. He is currently in custody at the hospital.

Names of the deceased were also released at Friday's press conference.

They include Gene Twiford, 85; Janet Twiford, 85 and Dana Twiford, 55, all residents of the same home; and Michele Ebeling, 53, who was found deceased earlier Thursday.

Colonel Bolduc praised the "heroic efforts of firefighters who worked to put out the fires, while preserving the crime scenes."

In making the arrest, there were no shots fired by either law enforcement or the suspect. Sounds heard in the area of the arrest may have been caused by what Colonel Bolduc described as  "flash bangs which are sometimes used to draw out a suspect."

The investigation remains ongoing. Several agencies have been involved in the response and investigation, including the volunteer fire departments of Laurel, Wayne, and Belden, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Cedar County Attorney, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, as well as the Laurel Police Department, Cedar County Sheriff’s Office, and the Nebraska State Patrol.

Earlier story:

According to NSP Colonel John Bolduc, at approximately 3 a.m. Thursday morning there was a 911 call reporting an explosion at 209 Elm Street.

Responding rescue personnel found one person deceased in the home.

As officials were on the scene, a second call was received of a call at a home at 503 Elm.

Three individuals were found deceased in this home.

Fire crews worked to extinguish the fires, while preserving evidence.

Firefighters from Laurel, Belden and Wayne were on the scene into the afternoon.

Few details were released during the press conference, with all involved stating the incident is "in the early stages of the investigation."

"There are multiple crime scenes and lots of details we are not able to share at this time," Colonel Bolduc said.

The names of the deceased or the cause of death has not been released at this time. A second press conference may be scheduled for sometime on Friday.

A silver sedan was seen leaving Laurel, headed westbound. It was driven by a black male who may have picked up a passenger. 

Because it was found that an accelerant was used in the fire, suspects may have burns on their bodies.

Cedar County Sheriff Larry Koranda state that Laurel is " a tight-knit community and is a very safe community. People do need to be diligent and report anything out of the ordinary.

Law enforcement is currently canvasing the community, speaking with residents as they work to obtain information.

Colonel Bolduc encouraged anyone with information on the incident to contact the State Patrol at (402) 479-4921. Law enforcement is looking for anyone who may have security footage that may help with the investigation.

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