UPDATE: Healing Service Saturday
The Laurel Ministerial Association will hold a “HOPE AND HEALING” community prayer service for the community of Laurel, Saturday (8/6) at 6:00pm at the Laurel Vets Club with a time of fellowship to follow. Everyone is encouraged to attend.
LAUREL – Heroic efforts by local volunteer fire fighters were highlighted with an arrest made following the tragic incident which took place in Laurel on Thursday.
Chief John Bolduc, Nebraska State Patrol Colonel along with Cedar County Sheriff, Larry Koranda provided an update on events which took place Friday early morning as well as an update on the overall investigations as NSP Troop B Commander Captain Dain Hix was in attendance.
NSP crime scene investigators obtained physical evidence at the two fire scenes that pointed to a suspect that lived right across the street from one of the fires.
Jason Jones, 42 of Laurel was taken into custody at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Friday after investigators developed probable cause, according to Colonel Bolduc.
“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, therefore he was airlifted to a hospital in Lincoln.”
Jones is believed to be in serous condition. The suspect was taken into custody without any violence and no officers were injured.
A large volume of evidence still needs to be processed along with several interviews and prepare for entry into the justice system leading into a trial.
After notifying all family members, the four victims were identified.
They include the Twiford family Gene, 86, and Janet, 85 as well as Dana Twiford, 55 who were found at the residence in the 500 block of Elm Street while Michele Ebeling, 53 was found in the 200 block residence.
Colonel Bolduc added the heroic efforts by local volunteer fire fighters from Laurel, Belden and Wayne.
“They had a very difficult task. We (NSP) asked them to put out these fires while preserving the evidence of these crimes,” Colonel Bolduc added. “They had to adjust their tactics in order to do that and they did that with great efficiency. Their efforts preserved the evidence that led us directly to the suspect.”
The Nebraska State Patrol believes there is no more danger to the community of Laurel or northeast Nebraska as the result of Friday morning’s arrest. Over 60 law enforcement officers were in Laurel Thursday evening.
The investigation is 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.