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Newscast 08.05.22: Nebraska State Patrol announces arrest of Laurel resident after bodies found in burned homes

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Nebraska State Patrol Col. John Bolduc

A 42-year-old Laurel,Nebraska resident was arrested last night for probable cause in connection with the four homicides, gunshots and two house fires there early yesterday morning.

The Nebraska State Patrol said at a morning news conference today that 42 year-old Jason Jones lived across the street from some of his victims.

NSP collected physical evidence that 42 year-old Jason Jones was responsible for the fires and deaths. Jones was taken into custody early this morning without incident. Joens has serious burns over a large part of his body and he has been airlifted to a Lincoln hospital where he is in serious condition. NSP Col. John Bolduc named the victims found in the houses with gunshot wounds.

“The Swifert family, Jean and Janet Swifert, 85 and 86, and Dan Swiftert who was born in 1967, all three adults who lived in the residence on the 500 block of Elm Street. Michelle Eveline was the fourth victim who lived in a house in the 200 block of Elm Street. She’s born in 1969. We are still working to process the evidence that we have found at this scene. It is still early in the investigation.”

Just after 3 a.m., yesterday Cedar County dispatchers received a report of an explosion at a residence in the 200 block of Elm Street. Bolduc said firefighters found a deceased individual inside the home.

As investigators from the Laurel Police Department, Cedar County Sheriff's Office and Nebraska State Patrol were at the scene, a second fire was reported in the 500 block of Elm Street. Bolduc said firefighters and officers found three individuals deceased inside of the second residence.

The murders and the fires and the possible motive for the crimes are still under investigation.