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LAUREL, Neb. (AP) — Police investigating the killings of four people in a small northeast Nebraska city have arrested a neighbor of one of the victims, the Nebraska State Patrol said Friday.
A police team surrounded then entered a home in Laurel about 2:30 a.m. Friday after gathering evidence at two burned houses where the four bodies were found Thursday morning.
The Nebraska State Patrol arrested Jason A. Jones, 42, of Laurel on suspicion of homicide. He had been badly burned and was taken to a hospital in Lincoln so has not been formally charged, Nebraska State Patrol Col. John Bolduc said at a news conference.
Bolduc said Jones lives across the street from one of the burned homes.
Those killed were identified as s Gene Twiford, 86, Janet Twiford, 85, and Dana Twiford, 55, who all lived in one house. The victim in the other house was identified as Michele Ebeling, 53.
Bolduc declined to give a suspected motive for the arrest or to say if Jones knew those who were killed.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story follows below.
LAUREL, Neb. (AP) — Police arrested a suspect early Friday in connection with the deaths of four people in the small northeast Nebraska city of Laurel, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.
The patrol said it would release more details about the arrest later Friday morning.
The arrest came a day after four people were found dead in two burning homes in the city about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Omaha.
The body of one person was found after firefighters were called to an explosion and fire. A short time later, firefighters were called to another home nearby and found the bodies of three people inside.
After examining both burned-out homes, the state patrol said that "gunfire played a part in the incident at both homes” and that both fires had started just after 3 a.m. Thursday.
Nebraska State Patrol Col. John Bolduc declined to say whether the victims were related and did not offer more detail about how they died.
"We're not categorizing it as anything right now," Bolduc said.
When asked if residents of the town of less than 1,000 people should worry about their safety, Cedar County Sheriff Larry Koranda called Laurel "a very safe community” but said people "need to be diligent” and report anything out of the ordinary to police.
When the bodies were discovered, Laurel police recommended that the community go on a voluntary lockdown, prompting most businesses, a senior center and schools to limit access for part of the day.
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