VANISHED AFTER PARENTS’ SLAY
A 13-year-old girl who vanished in mid-October when her parents were murdered in their Wisconsin home turned up alive late Thursday.
Jayme Closs was found by the Douglas County sheriff’s office Thursday evening, more than three months after she went missing.
Residents of Barron, Wis., never gave up on Jayme’s return. Family and friends held a vigil in mid-December as leads on her whereabouts appeared to take investigators nowhere.
A suspect was taken into custody, according to the Barron County Sheriff’s Department. The suspect’s identity and the charges against him or her were unclear late Thursday.
“We do not have any other details at this time as this is a very fluid and active investigation,” Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said in a statement.
“We promised to bring Jayme home, and tonight we get to fulfill that promise. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU!” the statement said.
Jayme was reportedly found alive in Gordon, Wisc., about 65 miles north of Barron. Cops said a citizen’s phone tip led to her discovery.
Officials had speculated that Jayme was abducted, and they offered a $50,000 reward for information on her disappearance.
Fitzgerald’s office plans to hold a news conference about the case on Friday.
Her remarkable discovery has had its share of amazing turns.
The night of the killings — at 1 a.m. on Oct. 15 — someone placed a call from Jayme’s mother’s cell phone to 911. A dispatcher heard “a lot of yelling” in the background before the call was dropped.
Moments later Denise Closs, 46, and her husband, James Closs, 56 — who worked at a turkey processing plant — were found shot dead in their Barron home.
Investigators soon came to believe that Jayme had been kidnapped.
For hours, cops canvassed the woods near the crime scene, searching for evidence and for Jayme herself. “Every second counts in the case,” a law official said at the time.
The next day, police in Miami tweeted there had been a possible sighting of Jayme at a gas station — but Wisconsin investigators didn’t believe that tip was credible.
Fitzgerald asked the public to provide tips and to report any citizens who suddenly left Barron.
The trail went cold — until Thursday, when Jayme was expected to finally be reunited with family members.
Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald (right, on Oct. 17) said Thursday that 13-year-old Jayme Closs (left), who vanished after her parents were killed Oct. 15 in their Barron, Wis., home, had been found alive and that a suspect had been arrested, but offered no further details.
Locals search for Jayme after her disappearance.