(Laurel, NE) -- The Nebraska State Patrol releases more details after multiple fatalities were reported in Laurel, in northeast Nebraska, early Thursday morning.
A large police presence is in the town of Laurel, west of Sioux City. During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Nebraska State Patrol Superintendent Colonel John Bolduc said, "In total, we have four individuals deceased at two different crime scenes about three blocks apart. Foul play is suspected in these deaths." Laurel is about 45 minutes west of Sioux City and about 2 hours north of Omaha.
Bolduc says around 3:00 Thursday morning, Cedar County 911 received reports of an explosion and a fire at a home near 2nd and Elm. When emergency crews arrived, they found one person dead inside the home. While at the scene of the first fire, another fire was reported at a house three blocks away. When responders arrived, they found three people dead inside that home. "We have two fires, with deceased people, three blocks apart. It would be a stretch to say that there's no connection, but it's very early in the investigation," Bolduc said.
Bolduc says a suspect vehicle may have been spotted leaving Laurel this morning. "Shortly after the second fire was reported, law enforcement received a report that a silver sedan had been seen leaving the town of Laurel. It was reportedly driven by a black male. The report also stated that the vehicle may have picked up a passenger." The vehicle was spotted heading out of town on westbound Highway 20. Bolduc adds that accelerants are believed to have been used in the fires, and that the suspect(s) may have suffered burns.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Nebraska State Patrol at (402)479-4921.