In Nebraska, a “close-knit” community is on high alert as police look into “foul play” deaths.
In Laurel, Nebraska, where two house fires occurred close together, four people perished, police have opened a criminal case and are searching for a suspect who they believe fled the small town in a silver sedan.
In a “tight-knit” community of about 1,000 people, Colonel John Bolduc, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, told reporters on Thursday afternoon that “foul play” is suspected in the deaths.
Police are currently asking questions of the populace and canvassing the neighborhood about the suspicious fires that earlier put the town on lockdown.
Such events, according to Bolduc, “can tremble the neighborhood.”
A fire and explosion were reported to Cedar County emergency services shortly after 3 a.m. on Thursday, according to Bolduc, who was speaking at a press conference in Laurel.
An unidentified person was discovered dead inside the house on Elm Street in a residential area of the town by the responding fire crews, according to Bolduc.
Three blocks away at a house on the same street, a second fire was reported as local and state police were tackling the first one, according to Bolduc.
According to him, when the police arrived, they discovered three unidentified dead people inside the house.
Bolduc stated that the investigation was still in its “very early stages” and that because of this, no names of the deceased would be made public just yet.
After the second fire was reported, law enforcement got a tip that a silver sedan being driven by a Black man had been seen leaving the town, according to Bolduc.
According to Bolduc, it’s possible that the vehicle, which was spotted traveling west on Highway 20, picked up a passenger en route.
According to Bolduc, investigators believe that both of the fires were started using accelerants, and anyone who was inside the homes when they caught fire may have been burned.
He claimed that the suspect (or suspects) might have burn wounds.
State Patrol, the organization in charge of the investigation, will remain in Laurel, according to Bolduc, until they have gathered “all the evidence that we feel is necessary.” However, he was unable to address questions regarding a motive, the use of firearms, the relationship between the victims, or connections between the two fires.
Bolduc noted that given the proximity of the two fires, it would be a stretch to claim that there is no connection.
But the investigation is still very young.
This serves as an overview.