Laurel Fires: Neighbor Arrested

Faye Higbee
laurel fires

An arrest was made in the case of the two Laurel fires from Thursday. Jason Jones, 42, owns the house adjacent to the first home involved, and was arrested at 2:30 a.m. on Friday. Nebraska State Patrol said in a morning Press Conference that evidence at the scene linked him to both blazes.

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“I want to acknowledge the indescribable grief that this community is experiencing right now. And that’s gonna be compounded by the betrayal of trust that they’re gonna feel, because a community member here is alleged to have committed these crimes.”

Col John Bolduc

Bolduc thanked the volunteer fire departments for not only putting out the fires, but preserving evidence as they did so. He stated that the departments had to alter their procedures in order to preserve it.

Jones failed to come out of the residence when requested by police early Friday morning. So they deployed “flash-bangs” and entered the residence with SWAT. He was found to be suffering from severe burns “over a large part of his body.” He was airlifted to a hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he remains in serious condition. He has not yet been booked into jail because of his injuries.

All four victims may have been shot first before the fires, according to police. The motive for this crime is still unknown.

Bolduc stated that police were still processing evidence, but emphasized that at this point they did not believe the community was in more danger. The person our original story referred to as someone the suspect may have picked up is not considered a suspect at this time. Police did say they’d like to talk to him.

Relatives of the deceased have been notified. The names were released by authorities: Michele Ebeling, 53, who lived at 209 Elm; Gene Twiford, 86; his wife Janet Twiford, 85; and their daughter Dana Twiford, 55 of 503 Elm. All had apparent gunshot wounds.

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Featured screenshot from Press Conference

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