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Teens charged with attempted murders in midnight stabbingsTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
Nebraska Youth Center, 18th and Washington
Courtesy Photo­Image
Keenan M. Lambert

Two teenage boys were formally charged Tuesday with attempted murder in the stabbing of two women at the Nebraska Youth Center, a home for teenage boys in North Platte.

Their two victims are recovering in hospitals in North Platte and Omaha.

The stabbings were reported at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at the boys home on the north side of town. Police arrived to find the women stabbed several times, police said.

The suspects, Keenan M. Lambert, 18, of Amherst and a Jordan M. Baker, 16, of Hastings fled in a Dodge Avenger that was stolen from one of the employees, police said.

The two were captured an hour later in Dawson County.

One of the vicims, Dianna Johns, 40, was stabbed twice in the neck. She was flown from North Platte to Creighton Hospital in Omaha around 4:30 a.m. for more specific treatment if needed. She was reported to be alert and stable but not out of danger, a close family member said at noon Tuesday.

The other woman was stabbed five times, including once in the upper lung. She remains under care at Great Plains Regional Medical Center, according to two people well acquainted with the victims.

The injuries are not life threatening, police said.

At 1:20 a.m., Dawson County Sheriff’s deputies stopped the Avenger on I-80, about a mile east of Lexington. The deputies identified the car from a description issued by the North Platte Police and followed the car about seven miles until it was near Lexington, according to the Dawson County Sheriff's office. A Lexington police officer helped with the arrest.

The pursuit was within the speed limit and the teens were arrested without further trouble.

They were transported back to Lincoln County Tuesday afternoon and charged with attempted willful homicide, escape and theft.

Baker, the 16-year-old, faces an additional charge of using a weapon to commit a felony, according to jail records. His photo has not been released.

Both the teenagers are held without bond.

The Nebraska Youth Center opened two years ago at 18th and Washington, a few blocks northeast of Madison Middle School. It is typically home to up to a dozen boys who are at-risk for failure. Boys typically stay in the youth center for six months, where they are put through a regimen of accountability.

The youth center was formerly known as the Wilcox Home for girls and operated by the Salvation Army, but it closed in that capacity in 2009. It reopened in 2011 as a home for boys after an attempt to privatize the state’s foster care system collapsed.

This report was updated twice on Tuesday afternoon as more details became apparent. To report news information, contact the Bulletin at 308-696-0052, send us a message on facebook or email editor George Lauby directly at george@northplattebulletin.com.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 7/9/2013
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