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Nebraska I-80 rest stop knife attack leaves Missouri man, 72, dead and his wife critically injured

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A 72-year-old Missouri man has died, and his wife was critically injured after being stabbed during an attempted robbery at an Interstate 80 rest stop in Nebraska, police say. 

James Thompson Jr., 22, of Elyria, Ohio, is now being held on numerous charges, including first-degree murder, following the incident that unfolded in Doniphan on Wednesday morning. 

The Hall County Sheriff’s Department says around 7 a.m., deputies responded to a disturbance call at 4148 I-80 and found two victims who had “suffered wounds from an assault with a knife.” 

“One victim, a 72-year-old male from Eureka, Missouri, suffered fatal injuries from the assault and was pronounced dead at Grand Island Regional Hospital,” the department added, identifying him as Gary Weaver. 

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His 71-year-old wife, Mary Weaver, is reported to have suffered “life-threatening injuries” and, as of Wednesday night, remains in critical condition at the same hospital. 

“At this time, it is believed this started as an attempted robbery,” the Hall County Sheriff’s Department said, noting that “the couple had been traveling through Nebraska in their mobile home when the incident occurred.”

The suspect fled the rest area in a vehicle before authorities arrived, but Grand Island Police Captain Dean Elliott told television station KSNB that officers were able to get a description. 

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Nebraska I-80 rest stop

The Nebraska State Patrol tried to stop a vehicle matching that description near Wood River and chased it at speeds of up to 120 mph before that vehicle exited the interstate and turned south, according to The Associated Press.  

Elliott said the vehicle eventually drove into the Platte River. State troopers used a police dog to find Thompson and arrest him about 30 minutes later. 

Hall County Sheriff's Department vehicle

 

Jail records show Thompson is facing charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, robbery, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and willful reckless driving. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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