Jayme Closs found alive in Douglas County; suspect in custody
A 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who had been missing since October was found alive in rural Douglas County on Thursday, authorities said.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Jayme Closs was found in the Town of Gordon at 4:43 p.m. and a suspect was taken into custody there just minutes later, at 4:54.
“We do not have any other details at this time as this is a very fluid and active investigation,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald posted on Facebook. Officials did not provide any other information on the case Thursday night. A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in Barron. Please check duluthnewstribune.com Friday for updates.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, citing “a source with knowledge of the investigation,” reported Thursday night that Jayme had “escaped from a home in rural Gordon and approached a neighbor, identifying herself and saying she’d been kidnapped, and asked the neighbor to call 911.”
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office posted on their Facebook page late Thursday thanking “the citizen who phoned in the information.”
A person related to the woman who found Jayme told the News Tribune that the woman was "exhausted by the events of the day and unable to comment."
Jayme’s cousin, Brody Jeffery, wrote on Facebook Thursday night, “Thank you, to absolutely everyone who prayed, who shared, who wrote me, who called me, who cared, I will never forget everyone’s kindness. My Uncle & Aunt can now Rest In Peace. My family is so thankful from the bottom our hearts.”
Teresa Guzman, who described Jayme on Facebook as her best friend, shared the Barron County Sheriff Department’s post and wrote, “Love you to the moon and back. Safe&sound now.”
Jayme went missing on Oct. 15, when her parents, James and Denise Closs, were both found shot to death in their rural home.
Barron County Sheriff Department deputies arrived at the Closs home within 4 minutes of a 911 call but found no suspects or gun at the scene and no sign of Jayme. Investigators could hear yelling in the background of the recorded 911 call, but nobody conversed with dispatchers.
Within three days after Jayme went missing more than 400 tips were received, but none at that time led to her location, and no viable suspects were identified.
Two months after Jayme had been missing, Fitzgerald said the lack of evidence seemed to suggest that the killer or killers didn’t get far in the home as investigators had not recovered any DNA evidence, or fingerprints, nor did they find shoe prints inside the home.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, Fitzgerald took to Facebook to dispel a rumor that Jayme had been found in Walworth County, where a large police presence related to a separate criminal investigation was being live-streamed by local media.
"We want to thank the Douglas Co Sheriff’s Department and agencies assisting them tonight,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “We also want to thank all the law enforcement agencies across the state and county that have assisted us in this case. We also could not have endured this case without the support of the public and I want to thank them for all the support and help.
"This case has been very trying on the family so please respect their privacy and we reunite them later tonight," Fitzgerald's said.