Jayme Closs, 13, who went missing after her parents were shot dead, found alive three months later
The local Sheriff said he always hoped Jayme Closs would be found alive. (Facebook: Barron County Sheriff’s Department)
A 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were shot dead has been found alive.
- Authorities had been searching for Jayme since her parents were found dead in October
- A suspect has been taken into custody
- The local Mayor says he hopes she’s in “good shape”
The Sheriff’s Department in Barron County, Wisconsin said on its Facebook page that Jayme Closs has been located and that a suspect had been taken into custody.
Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme was expected to be reunited with her remaining family.
He said the girl had been found in the town of Gordon, about 100 kilometres north of Barron, where she had lived with her parents.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald always held out hope that Jayme was alive. (AP: Jerry Holt/Star Tribune, File)
Jayme’s aunt Sue Allard told Minnesota newspaper the Star Tribune that she could barely express her joy after learning the news.
“Praise the Lord,” Ms Allard said.
“It’s the news we’ve been waiting on for three months. I can’t wait to get my arms around her. I just can’t wait.”
Girl had been ruled out as a suspect in parents’ deaths
James and Denise Closs were found shot dead on October 15 in the family’s home.
Investigators said Jayme was quickly ruled out as a suspect.
Detectives pursued thousands of tips, watched dozens of surveillance videos and conducted numerous searches in the effort to find Jayme. Some tips led officials to recruit 2,000 volunteers for a massive ground search on October 23.
Sheriff Fitzgerald said in November that he kept similar cases in the back of his mind as he worked to find Jayme, including the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, who was taken from her Salt Lake City home in 2002, when she was 14 years old.
She was rescued nine months later with the help of two witnesses who recognized her abductors from an America’s Most Wanted episode.
“I have a gut feeling she’s (Jayme’s) still alive. I’ve always been a glass half-full kind of guy,” Sheriff Fitzgerald said at the time.
Barron Mayor Ron Fladten said he hadn’t heard any details about Jayme’s discovery but was overjoyed at learning she is alive.
“There was a lot of discouragement because this took quite a while to play out,” Mr Fladten said.
“A lot of people have been praying daily, as I have. It’s just a great result we got tonight. It’s unbelievable. It’s like taking a big black cloud in the sky and getting rid of it and the sun comes out again.”
James Closs and Denise Closs were found dead outside this house on October 15. (AP: Jeff Baenen, File)
He acknowledged that Jayme may not be the same person she was before she disappeared.
“I hope that she’s in good shape,” the Mayor said.
“She’s no doubt been through just a terrible ordeal. I think everybody wishes her a good recovery and a happy life going into the future.”