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Four in custody in connection to fatal Fairbury shooting
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Four in custody in connection to fatal Fairbury shooting

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Two men and two women have been arrested in connection with a homicide at a Fairbury park last week.

Jefferson County Sheriff Nels Sorensen said during a news conference  Wednesday morning that the male victim has not yet been positively identified, but an autopsy was being conducted. He did say the victim is not a resident of Jefferson County.

The man's shooting death occurred on July 1 around 6:30 or 7 p.m., Sorensen said.

Three people -- Jerry W. Gilbert, Caitlyn H. Grable and Trey D. Saathoff -- made court appearances, though haven't yet been charged.

Gilbert, 25, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony, felon in possession of a firearm, tampering with physical evidence and improper disposal of human remains. He's being held without bond.

Grable, 21, was accused of accessory to second-degree murder, possession of a controlled substance, assault and tampering with evidence. Her bond was set at $250,000.

Saathoff, 23, was accused of accessory to second-degree murder, possession of a controlled substance and tampering with evidence. His bond was also set at $250,000. 

Realidy A. Schram, 18, was arrested by a Nebraska State Patrol investigator Tuesday afternoon in Beatrice. She is being held on accessory to second-degree murder, but could face additional charges, Sorensen said.

Schram, a transient originally from Fairbury, and Saathoff were allegedly there when the victim was shot on July 1, Sorensen said.

He said Gilbert led authorities to the victim's body, which was found Monday morning alongside a road southeast of Fairbury. The body was transported to Douglas County for an autopsy, which was to be conducted on Wednesday.

A Beatrice police officer first contacted the sheriff's office July 4 with information about a possible homicide in a Fairbury park three days earlier.

During a news conference Wednesday morning, Sorensen addressed concerns about whether law officers were slow to investigate the death.

He said that was not the case.

"The minute we found out about it we started our investigation trying to locate the scene, and that took a little bit of time," he said. 

Investigators found spent shell casings in a portion of Crystal Springs Park in Fairbury, and video surveillance of frantic movements between two cars and several people on July 1, according to an investigative report filed in court.

A body was seen on the video falling out of one of the vehicles and then being moved toward the trunk of a silver Honda with Texas plates, the court document said.

After Sorensen publicized the search for Gilbert and Grable, tips from the public led investigators to a Fairbury home where the Odessa, Texas, residents were taken into custody following discussions with a hostage negotiator Sunday afternoon. Grable is a former Fairbury resident, the sheriff said.

Sorensen said law officers also believe the two had planned to rob a bank in Fairbury before returning to their home in Texas.

The silver Honda was located in Republic County, Kansas. It had been stolen from Odessa. The other car, a black Kia, was also recovered, Sorensen said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7241 or cspilinek@journalstar.com.

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