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Jayme Closs, Missing After Parents’ Deaths, Is Found Alive in Wisconsin, Authorities Say Jayme Closs, Missing After Parents’ Deaths, Is Found Alive in Wisconsin, Authorities Say
(about 1 hour later)
A teenage girl who went missing from the house where her parents were killed has been found, the authorities said on Thursday night, three months after her disappearance rattled a small town in Wisconsin and prompted a large-scale manhunt. A suspect has been taken into custody. A 13-year-old girl who disappeared the same night her parents were shot to death in their rural Wisconsin home nearly three months ago was found alive on Thursday night, the authorities said.
Jayme Closs, 13, was found on Thursday evening by police officers from a county north of her home in Barron, Wis., according to a Facebook post from the Barron County Sheriff’s Department. Jayme disappeared in October at the same time that her parents were found killed in their home. Details are scarce, but the girl, Jayme Closs, was discovered early in the evening by officers from Douglas County, north of her hometown, Barron, Wis., according to a Facebook post from the Barron County Sheriff’s Department. The family was notified at about 7:30 p.m.
Shortly after the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department notified the authorities in Barron, a suspect in the case was taken into custody, according to the post. “We’re very happy that she is alive,” her uncle Jeff Closs wrote in a text message to a reporter. “We don’t know much else.” Jayme was in a hospital and being evaluated, he said.
The double homicide along with Jayme’s disappearance in October has riveted Barron, a town of just over 3,400, fueling unease among residents who used to feel comfortable leaving their doors unlocked. Just when the family started to give up hope, Mr. Closs wrote, “we got the greatest news ever.”
Early in the morning on Oct. 15, the police discovered Jayme’s parents, James and Denise Closs, dead on their property. Mr. Closs’s body was in the doorway, his wife’s was inside the house and Jayme was missing. The double homicide of the Closses, a quiet couple who worked at the local turkey plant, and the mystery of their daughter’s disappearance on Oct. 15, riveted Barron, a town of just over 3,400. A manhunt drew 2,100 tips and thousands of volunteers. The local police force of 78 swelled to a corps of 200 federal, state and local officers in a hunt that went on day and night.
According to the sheriff, evidence indicated that Jayme was home at the time of the attack, though he would not describe the evidence. When deputies arrived, only Jayme’s dog, Molly, was there. In a news release, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said Jayme was “located alive in the town of Gordon in Douglas County at 4:43 p.m.” It added, “A suspect was taken into custody at 4:54 p.m., also in the town of Gordon.” There were no more details.
A spokeswoman for the Barron County Sheriff’s Department said officials were not releasing any more information on Thursday. A news media briefing was scheduled for Friday morning. On Thursday night, shortly after Jayme was found, Barron’s sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald, confirmed in a text message that Jayme had been located: “2 separate incidents tonight, one was false and one was true,” he wrote, but declined to elaborate further. “I am not making comments tonight except to say she was found.”
In a text message conversation on Thursday night, Jayme’s uncle, Jeff Closs, said that authorities had not told the family the circumstances of Jayme’s discovery. But Jayme’s return was still shrouded in as much mystery as her disappearance. No motive had been discovered for her parents’ killings, and no weapon had been found. A news conference was scheduled for 10 a.m. local time on Friday in Barron, officials said. But for her extended family, an agonizing episode nearly three months long was at last over.
Mr. Closs said that they heard the news at about 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and that her family had not yet seen her. She was in a hospital and being evaluated, he said. “I honestly had faith,” Kelly Engelhardt, Jayme’s aunt, said in an interview with a television station Thursday night. “I figured if they hadn’t found her by now that the person that did this didn’t want her dead. So I had hope.”
“We’re very happy that she is alive,” Mr. Closs wrote. “We don’t know much else.” Jayme’s disappearance drew national attention to the town about 90 miles northeast of the Twin Cities. Her name topped the F.B.I.’s missing persons list as the reward for her recovery grew to $50,000, and all over town, shops and homes hung green ribbons bearing the words “Find Jayme Closs,” and displayed green banners on their social media pages.
Just when you start to give up hope, he wrote, “then we got the greatest news ever.” On social media on Thursday night, they rejoiced.
Her cousin Seara Closs wrote: “She is alive and on her way home from the bottom of my heart thank you all for the help!!! I can never repay each and everyone one of you for posting and sharing and contributing to the search of my cousin Jayme Closs!!!! Thank you so much everyone!!!! I love you all”
Lynn Closs, her aunt, also posted as the news was spreading. “We have her,” she wrote.