After questioning two suspects long into the night about a reported homicide Sunday afternoon near Fairbury, officers found the body of the apparent victim around 4 a.m. Monday morning.
One of the suspects, Jerry Gilbert, led investigators to the body of an adult male in a road ditch, Jefferson County Sheriff Nels Sorenson said.
The homicide allegedly occurred Monday, July 1 in an outdoor recreational park outside of Fairbury.
The body was found south of Endicott, a village about five miles southeast of Fairbury on U.S. Highway 6, the Fairbury Journal-News reported. Endicott is three miles north of the Kansas border.
The body was exposed to the weather for the better part of seven days. It was taken to the Douglas County Coroner’s Office. An autopsy will be conducted Wednesday morning. After the victim is positively identified and the next of kin notified, his name will be released.
Gilbert is charged with second-degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony, felon in possession of a firearm, tampering with evidence and improper disposal of human remains. He is held without bond pending his appearance in court.
Second-degree murder is defined as an intentional killing that was not premeditated.
Caitin Grable is charged with being an accessory to second-degree murder, possession of a controlled substance, assault and tampering with evidence.
Sorsenson said the suspects’ vehicle, a silver Honda with Texas plates CVZ4221, was also recovered.
Please contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office 402-729-2284 or the Nebraska State Patrol 402-471-4545 if you have information on this ongoing investigation.
A 911 caller tipped deputies Sunday afternoon that the suspects were in a residence in Fairbury.
The Thayer County Sheriff’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol helped surround the house and nearby houses were evacuated, Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas said.
A hostage negotiator with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office used the speaker on a patrol vehicle to contact the two people, who came out of the house more than an hour later, around 5:30 p.m.
Gilbert, 25, and Grable, 21, were taken into custody. They are both from Odessa, Texas.
Jefferson County Sheriff Nels L. Sorensen said his office received word on the evening of July 4 of the possible homicide from the Beatrice Police Department. Police received the names of possible suspects and a description of a vehicle. The murder allegedly occurred July 1, in Crystal Springs Park, a wooded recreation area about two miles southwest of Fairbury.
A Nebraska State trooper found the vehicle shortly after midnight Saturday, July 6. The driver, Trey Saathoff, 23, of Diller, was questioned and detained. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, but not homicide. Saathoff was taken to the Jefferson County jail.
The vehicle was seized and a search warrant obtained. That led investigators to the crime scene, where they collected evidence, but they did not find a victim nor a victim’s remains.
Sorsenson said that “some of the people involved in this” are apparently from Fairbury.