Arrest Made After 4 Found Dead in 2 Burning Homes

Quadruple homicide has stunned small Nebraska town of Laurel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2022 1:15 PM CDT
2 Suspicious Fires, 4 Victims. Now, an Arrest
Barricades block off a portion of Elm Street in Laurel, Neb., Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.   (Riley Tolan-Keig/The Norfolk Daily News via AP)

Police in Nebraska say an arrest has been made in the deaths of four people who were found dead in two burning homes in a small town. After receiving a 911 call around 3am Thursday about an explosion and fire in Laurel, a town of around 1,000 people in the northeast of the state, one body was found in a home, Cedar County authorities say. While fire crews and law enforcement were at the scene of that fire, another fire was reported three blocks away and three more bodies were found, reports the Omaha World-Herald. After examining the burned-out homes, police said "gunfire played a part in the incidents at both homes."

Early Friday, police arrested 42-year-old Jason Jones, who lives across the street from the first victim found. Jones, arrested on suspicion of homicide, is hospitalized with serious burns, say authorities. Col. John Bolduc of the Nebraska State Patrol said it was too early to discuss a motive, and he did not shed any light on the relationship between the suspect and the victims. They have been identified as Gene Twiford, 85; Janet Twiford, 86; Dan Twiford, 55; and Michelle Ebeling, 53, per Fox News. Eberling lived at the first residence and the Twifords at the second.

James Roberts, owner of Laurel's Hometown Market, says the deaths have stunned the "tight-knit" community. "Stuff like this doesn't happen in this town," Roberts tells CNN. "Everybody here knows everybody." The AP reports that after the bodies were found, police recommended a "voluntary lockdown" Thursday and schools and businesses limited access for the day. (More Nebraska stories.)

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