Aug 05, 2022

Patrol: Suspect arrested after multiple deaths in small Nebraska city

Posted Aug 05, 2022 3:51 PM
Investigators on the scene Thursday photo courtesy KCAU TV
Investigators on the scene Thursday photo courtesy KCAU TV

CEDAR COUNTY, NE —The Nebraska State Patrol has arrested a suspect in connection with four homicides that occurred in Laurel early Thursday morning. The investigation included two scenes on Elm Street in Laurel. Each scene included a residence with a fire, according to a media release from the patrol.

Once fire suppression efforts were complete at a residence at 503 Elm Street, NSP Crime Scene Investigators were able to examine the scene. Investigators located three deceased victims at that location, each with suspected gunshot wounds. The victims have been identified as Gene Twiford, 86, Janet Twiford, 85, and Dana Twiford, 55. All three were residents of the home.

One deceased victim was located at 209 Elm Street, also with suspected gunshot wounds. That victim has been identified as Michele Ebeling, 53. She was a resident at that home.

Physical evidence located at both scenes led investigators to identify a suspect as Jason Jones, 42, who is a resident of Laurel. Investigators developed information to believe that Jones was inside his home at 206 Elm Street in Laurel. The NSP SWAT Team was activated, and an arrest warrant was obtained for Jones. Following repeated attempts to have Jones exit the home voluntarily, the SWAT Team made entry into the home and located Jones in a bedroom, with severe burns.

Jones was flown to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Lincoln for treatment of his burn injuries. He is in custody at the hospital.

The investigation remains ongoing. Several agencies have been involved in the response and investigation, including the volunteer fire departments of Laurel, Wayne, and Beldon, 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.


CEDAR COUNTY, NE —The Nebraska State Patrol, working with several public safety partners, is investigating the deaths of four people, at two different scenes in Laurel, Nebraska, according to a release from the patrol.

The first incident occurred shortly after 3:00 a.m. Thursday, when an explosion was reported at a residence in the 200 block of Elm Street in Laurel. Local volunteer firefighters responded and located an individual inside the home. That victim was found to be deceased. At that point, the Laurel Police Department and Cedar County Sheriff’s Office responded and requested assistance from the Nebraska State Patrol.

As investigators were on scene at the first residence, a second fire was reported a few blocks away, at a residence in the 500 block of Elm Street. Fire crews and law enforcement responded immediately. Three individuals were located deceased inside the residence.

At this time there are no identified suspects, however, NSP is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a vehicle that was seen leaving Laurel shortly after the second fire. That vehicle is described as a silver sedan that was seen traveling westbound out of Laurel on Highway 20. According to a witness report, the vehicle was driven by a black male, and may have picked up a passenger before leaving Laurel. Fire investigators believe that anyone inside either residence at the time of the fires may have suffered burns.

Anyone with information about either incident, or about the vehicle, is urged to contact the Nebraska State Patrol at 402-479-4921. This is an active investigation. Additional details will be released when possible.


CEDAR COUNTY, NE —The Nebraska State Patrol is able to release new information and urges public vigilance as the investigation into four deaths in Laurel continues, according to a media release from the patrol.

After fire suppression efforts were successful this afternoon at the scene in the 500 block of Elm Street in Laurel, investigators have been able to examine the crime scene and now identify that gunfire is suspected to have played a part in the incidents at both homes. Fire investigators also believe that the fire in the 500 block of Elm Street may have started around the same time as the reported explosion in the 200 block of Elm Street. However, indications of that fire weren’t visible outside the home for hours. Both incidents are now believed to have occurred shortly after 3:00 a.m. Thursday.

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, based on this focused time frame of the fires, investigators now believe the previously sought silver sedan reported by a member of the public may have left Laurel much later after the incidents than previously thought.


LAUREL, Neb. (AP) — An unknown number of people were found dead Thursday in two homes in a small community in northeastern Nebraska, and schools and most businesses went on lockdown as a precaution at the recommendation of police, officials said.

Cody Thomas, a spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol, said he didn't know how many people were found dead or how anyone died, but that fire “was involved” at both houses. He said state investigators were headed to Laurel and would likely take the lead in investigating what happened.

Most businesses, a senior center and schools voluntarily went on lockdown at the recommendation of police, said Lori Hansen, a clerical assistant at the Laurel City Hall. She said she had no other information about what was happening at the police scenes.

“We've been listening to TV to try to find out what's going on," she said.

A woman who answered the phone at the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office said she had no information about the deaths and that she was the only person in the office.

Laurel is home to fewer than 1,000 people and is located about 100 miles northwest of Omaha.

The patrol plans to hold a news conference later Thursday to discuss its findings.