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Warrants give investigation details

— Trisha Benton Cedar County News

HARTINGTON - Investigators have filed multiple search warrants in the ongoing investigation into four Laurel murders.

In recent days, investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol and Cedar County Sheri's Oce have filed a number of search warrants including a second search of the home of the suspect, Jason A. Jones, and a search of his wife, Carrie’s, cellphone and other devices.

One search warrant has been sealed with investigators citing the premature disclosure of the infor- mation could jeopardize the ongoing investigation. Since his arrest, Jason Jones, 42, remains in serious condition at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Lincoln with extensive burn injuries. He is accused of four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree arson and a number of weapons charges in the deaths of his neighbors, Michele Shankles-Ebeling, 53, Gene Twiford, 86, Janet Twiford, 85, and Dana Twiford, 55, Aug. 4. According to the search warrants and returns filed in Cedar County District Court, investigators have searched two smartwatches, five cellphones, and a number of other technological devices, and the homes of Shankles-Ebeling, Jones and the Twifords.

Investigators searched the Jones’ home at 206 Elm St. in Laurel a second time, taking two pairs of boots from the home. In a search of the Twiford home at 503 Elm Ave. the day of the murders, in vestigators located footprint impressions and made castings.

According to another application for search warrant, a neighbor told investigators that he had gone outside his home in the early morning hours of Aug. 4 to smoke a cigarette when he witnessed the explosion occur at Shankles-Ebeling's home at 209 Elm St.

He ran to the nearby home in an attempt to render aid when he made contact with Carrie Jones at the property. Mrs. Jones allegedly admitted to Laurel Police Chief Ron Lundahl of being at the Shankles-Ebeling residence that morning. In the first search of the Jones' home, investi gators cataloged a number of weapons including a shotgun, a semi-automatic AK rifle, a .22-caliber semi-automatic long rifle, two knives in sheathes, along with ammunition.

Mr. Jones’ Hummer vehicle was also searched but no evidence was recovered.

At the Twifords' home, a Ruger handgun, knife, ammunition and spent shell casings were located. Other items recovered from the home included bullet fragments, burned fabrics, a vape cartridge, crowbar, some glass vials with liquid residue, and gas can.

DNA samples were taken from Shankles-Ebeling and from items at her home. Recovered items in- cluded two lighters, a flashlight, spent casings, and a gas can. Receipts , a hard drive, razors, and a T-shirt were recovered from a black backpack. According to court documents, the receipts allegedly trace back to Mr. Jones.

There have been no additional arrests in the case.