A 13-year-old girl who has been missing since mid-October has been found alive and a suspect arrested in connection to her disappearance, police in Wisconsin confirmed.
Jayme Closs was abducted from her home in Barron, Wisconsin on October 15, the same day the teenager’s parents, James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, were found shot dead inside.
The Barron County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Thursday evening that Jayme has been located in Douglas County, and an unidentified male suspect has been arrested.
The board chairman of Gordon said Jayme was found at Eau Claire Acres, a development located about 70 miles away from her home.
The teen was said to have approached a woman walking her dog in the afternoon, when she told the stranger she had been kidnapped and that a man killed her parents.
The Barron County Sheriff’s Department, which was first notified by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department of the information after a citizen called, declined to release further details at this time.
‘We do not any other details at this time as this is a very fluid and active investigation… we will not be answering any questions or taking calls on this tonight,’ the statement said.
‘We want to thank the Douglas Co Sheriff’s Department and agencies assisting them tonight.
‘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.
‘Finally, we want to especially thank the family for their support and patience while this case was ongoing.
‘We promised to bring Jayme home and tonight we get to fulfill that promise. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU!’
The Barron County Sheriff’s Department will hold a press conference at 10am on Friday.
Jayme’s aunt, Kelly Engelhardt, told KARE 11 that the news is what the family has ‘prayed for’ every day.
‘I honestly had faith… 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. Every day there was hope. We had too much love and support around us for us to give up,’ her aunt said.
The teen’s uncle, Jeff Closs, said he is shocked and beyond grateful for the outcome they desperately hoped for.
‘It was just unbelievable because you hear about… you’re not sure if she’s not going to be found. And when you actually hear it, it’s just unbelievable. We’re all just so grateful and happy.
‘We thought it was going to be a different ending and we’re so happy… hopefully she’s OK, we don’t know what condition. Just she’s alive.’
Jayme’s name was added to the top of the FBI’s Missing Persons list and has been on digital billboards across the nation since she vanished four months ago.
In December, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald shared troubling details about the crime scene with DailyMail.com.
Fitzgerald said the killer was in the Closs home for only four minutes, during which they stepped just five feet into the open plan house, shot James and Denise and took Jayme.
Both Denise and James died ‘instantly’ of their wounds, the sheriff said.
Despite a mysterious inaudible 911 call made from her mother’s cell at 12.54am, when police arrived at 12.58am, they revealed there was no sign that Jayme resisted her abductor. There was nothing taken and nothing disturbed.
In fact, there was no forensic evidence of any intruder at all.
Fitzgerald said: ‘That’s the frustrating part of it. We’ve had four different lab teams look at the scene before we released it. We were very strategic. When we discovered it was a major crime, we sealed it off immediately.
‘But if I’m in your house for minutes and I only step five feet inside your home I’m probably not going to leave a big footprint.’
He added: ‘It doesn’t appear that anything was taken, it doesn’t appear that Jayme packed up any clothing.’
Law enforcement officials haven’t ruled out that Jayme unwittingly played a part in the crime.
Fitzgerald, however, said at a press conference in October: ‘I’m telling you – Jayme is missing and endangered.’
Searches of her social media, cell phone and computer have offered no evidence of a boyfriend or anyone she met anyone online who might have targeted her or her parents.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, by Jessica Schroeder