UPDATE – Sunday, August 7, 2022 3:20pm
LAUREL, NE – According to an affidavit filed in Cedar County Court in Hartington, Nebraska, State Patrol investigators met with an employee at Rath’s Mini Mart in Laurel and secured video footage from the night before two deadly incidents in Laurel. The footage reportedly shows Jason Jones filling two gas cans Wednesday night, approximately seven hours before two fires at different homes on Elm Street in Laurel. Investigators also found receipts for the purchase of gas cans at Cubby’s in Laurel and Fleet Farm in Sioux City.
Four people were found dead inside the affected homes, though court records also indicate that all four victims were shot. Authorities first responded to 209 Elm Street at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Thursday. First responders found 53-year-old Michele Ebling bleeding, according to court records. Life-saving measures were attempted, but Ebling died at the scene. Then, an additional fire was reported 3-blocks away where 86-year-old Gene Twiford, 85-year-old Janet Twiford, and 55-year-old Dana Twiford, were later found dead inside their residence.
Nebraska State Patrol investigators say a pry bar was used to gain entry into the Twiford home and a Molotov cocktail was used at the residence.
According to court records, NSP investigators also state that a firearm found at the Twiford residence had been purchased by Jones.
Security footage at a local gas station helped authorities identify Jones as a suspect in the incidents in Cedar County, according to court records. Jason Jones, 42 of Laurel was taken into custody at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Friday after investigators developed probable cause, according to NSP Colonel John Bolduc. Jones faces four counts of first-degree murder, four counts of using a firearm to commit a felony and two counts of first-degree arson.
“The NSP Swat team arrived and performed an entry and search into the residence where he was located at 206 Elm Street,” said Bolduc. “When he was arrested, it was discovered that he had serious burns over a large part of his body, and was airlifted to a hospital in Lincoln.” Jones was believed to be in serous condition. The suspect was taken into custody without any violence and no officers were injured.