UPDATED: 7:11 a.m. Friday
LAUREL – Per a social media post from the NSP as of 7:11 a.m. on Friday, an arrest in connection with the investigation into the homicides in Laurel have been made. A news conference is being planned for later this morning. The NSP thanks the public for their vigilance and cooperation with the investigation.
NSP will hold a media availability this morning (Friday) at 9:30 a.m. in Laurel to release information regarding the arrest. The news conference will be held at the Laurel Fire Station, at Highway 20 and 4th street in Laurel.
The news conference will be streamed live on the Nebraska State Patrol Facebook page.
Norfolk, NE — The Nebraska State Patrol has released new information and urges public vigilance as the investigation into four deaths in Laurel continues.
According to an NSP release late Thursday evening, after fire suppression efforts were successful Thursday 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.
The Nebraska State Patrol, Cedar County Sheriff’s Office, and Laurel Police Department urge vigilance for members of the Laurel and nearby communities. Anyone who sees out-of-the-ordinary activity should call 911 immediately.
This is an active investigation. Additional details will be released when possible.
ORIGINAL STORY POSTED THURSDAY AFTERNOON
LAUREL – A total of four deaths have been confirmed in the City of Laurel during the early stages of investigation. A press conference was held at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Chief John Bolduc, Nebraska State Patrol Colonel along with Cedar County Sheriff, Larry Koranda also addressed the media.
The Nebraska State Patrol and Cedar County Sheriff’s Office are investigating multiple crime scenes in the City of Laurel.
Col. Bolduc first shared a message for the community of Laurel.
“Incidents like this can shape a community,” said Col. Bolduc. “But I want to emphasize that we have an outstanding public safety team on scene here with a number of our partners to keep the community safe.”
Just after 3 a.m. on Thursday, Cedar County 911 received a call about an explosion at the residence of 209 Elm Street in Laurel. Fire crews responded to the home and located an individual inside. The individual was deceased upon arrival.
NSP was joined by the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office and Laurel Police Department at the first scene.
A second fire then was reported a few blocks away at 503 Elm Street. Fire crews and law enforcement located three individuals deceased inside the residence.
Fire crews worked diligently to put out the fire but also preserved evidence that may be located inside the home. NSP investigators were processing the second scene as of Thursday late afternoon.
Foul play is suspected in all four deaths. Names will not be released until all family members are contacted.
Col. Bolduc added if anyone has information about these crimes, contact the Nebraska State Patrol at 402-479-4921.
“Shortly after the second fire was reported, law enforcement received a report that a sliver Sedan had been seen leaving the town of Laurel,” Col. Bolduc added. “This vehicle was reported west bound on HWY 20. It was reportedly driven by a black male. The report also stated the vehicle may have picked up a passenger before leaving town.”
Local residents and businesses are being communicated with to see if there is any security camera footage pertinent to the fires. If anyone in Laurel or surrounding areas has video that may be relevant, reach out to the NSP again at 402-479-4921.
Fire investigators believe that anyone inside the home during the fire may have been burned. NSP officials stated that the suspect or suspects may have received burn injuries during the incidents.
Reach out to the NSP at 402-479-4921 if you have any information.
Cedar County Sheriff, Larry Koranda mentioned the community of Laurel is a tight-nit community with roughly 1,000 residents.
“Everybody knows everybody in this small community,” Cedar County Sheriff, Larry Koranda mentioned. “I think people just need to be diligent if they see something out of the ordinary, something they’re not used to, please contact the state patrol at the number the colonel gave you so investigators can follow up on those leads.”
Volunteer firefighters from Laurel, Wayne and Belden were also a part of the team effort in Laurel during their work in extremely difficult circumstances.
The State Fire Marshall also provided resources and the Cedar County Emergency Management office.
NSP crime scene investigators will be in Laurel until all the evidence is collected and until it’s solved. Resources will be on scene overnight.
Another briefing will likely be scheduled for Friday. We’ll have the time once available.