Sheriff: Jayme Closs's parents victims of homicide; no gun found

Published: Oct. 15, 2018 at 9:29 AM CDT
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Barron County's Sheriff says the parents of missing and endangered teen Jayme Closs were shot to death and Jayme was home at the time.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Wednesday that he believed Jayme Closs was home when James and Denise Closs were shot to death based on evidence found at the scene and a 911 call placed early Monday morning.

"Some of it from that 911 call, and some of it part of that active investigation," Fitzgerald says.

Autopsies for the Closs parents were concluded Wednesday and results confirmed the cause of death as homicide.

No gun was found at the scene, Fitzgerald says. The sheriff says investigators do not know if it was a random attack or a targeted attack.

Wednesday evening, the sheriff's department and FBI both posted on social media that they were on the scene of "serious criminal activity" that was unrelated to the Closs investigation except for the fact it was discovered during the search for Jayme. The sheriff's department said "law enforcement action was deemed necessary."

A town hall meeting was held Wednesday night for Barron County residents to be brief by the sheriff's department and the FBI about the investigation. The meeting was closed to anyone living outside the county.

An Amber Alert was issued for 13-year-old Jayme Closs on Monday. The alert states that Jayme was taken from her home early that morning from "unknown individual(s), likely with a gun."

Jayme Closs description: Age: 13 Height: 5' Weight: 100 pounds Hair: Strawberry blonde Eye color: Green Clothing: It's unknown what Jayme might be wearing

On Monday, at 12:53 a.m., dispatchers received a 911 call from a home in Barron. Dispatchers heard the sound of a "disturbance" but there was no conversation between the caller and the dispatcher. Police arrived and found James and Denise Closs, 56 and 46 years old respectively, dead inside the home. Their daughter, Jayme, was missing.

It is unknown who made the 911 call. It came from a cell phone. Fitzgerald estimates that deputies arrived on scene about four minutes after the 911 call was placed. Two vehicles were at the scene when they arrived, but officers have not yet identified who owns those vehicles.

Sheriff Fitzgerald says Jayme Closs is not considered a suspect in the death of her parents.

Investigators have received about 400 tip calls from across the nation. No tip is considered credible at this time. They have more than 200 law enforcement officers on the ground.

"We want to bring Jayme home. That's the main point. I will not interrupt this investigation for anybody to have any information that's not necessary, except for the essential people behind me and their staff. That's why I won't give out any information," Fitzgerald says.

Teams have used drones and infrared in their search for Jayme Closs. They've spoken with friends and classmates to see if they know anything. Jayme was at a family gathering Sunday afternoon. The gathering was not at the Closs home.

Barron Area School District Superintendent Diane Tremblay described Jayme as "a sweet, quiet girl who is a loyal friend and loves to dance."

The FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are assisting with the investigation.

Investigators have questioned several people. There are no suspects at this time.

The sheriff is asking hunters to search their property and cabins and report anything out of place or unusual.

Sheriff Fitzgerald says there is no credible information from a possible sighting Jayme in Florida.

"Miami's tweet about this case was done without checking with the sources back here in Wisconsin. We have no credible information about the Miami incident," Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Tuesday afternoon.

The sheriff says he cannot say for sure that it is not Jayme Closs in surveillance video from Florida released Tuesday. He said the FBI is handling the Florida part of the investigation.

The Miami Police Department tweeted that Jayme Closs may have been seen in the Florida city on the afternoon of Oct. 15. A witness believed they saw her in a black Ford Explorer with a Wisconsin license plate of 160WER. The Associated Press reports that she may have been seen with two "well-dressed, bearded men."

It's about 1,746 miles from Barron to Miami.

"If it does not come from this podium, it is not a credible tip," Sheriff Fitzgerald said about information coming from agencies outside of the state.

"If it's something you guys need to know about, it'll come from me, it'll come from our Facebook page, it'll come from the FBI Twitter account. That's what I'm saying is every tip continues to be followed up on, and if it's something that we need to get out to you, that's we're looking for something, we will get that information and it'll come directly from me out to you. So I guess that's my comment on that," said Sheriff Fitzgerald.

If you see Jayme Closs, call the tip line at 1-855-744-3879.


The Latest on the search for a missing Wisconsin teen who disappeared after two adults were found dead in her home (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

A western Wisconsin sheriff says two people found dead in home of a missing teenager are the girl's parents.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says gunshots are involved, but he stopped short of saying that's what caused the deaths of the man and woman. He didn't release their names.

Authorities have been searching for 13-year-old Jayme Closs since a 911 call was placed to sheriff's dispatchers at around 1 a.m. Monday. Fitzgerald says it's not known who made the call.

The sheriff says the girl is missing and in danger and is not a suspect in her parents' deaths. He says investigators have been talking with Jayme's friends, but so far have no leads on a possible suspect.

The FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are assisting in the investigation. Fitzgerald says the FBI technicians are specialized in missing children.


10:30 a.m.

A Wisconsin sheriff says investigators have not identified a suspect in the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl who deputies determined was missing after two adults were found dead in her home.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said his office is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the search for Jayme Closs. Sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call for help at a home in Barron about 1 a.m. Monday. Deputies found the two bodies and determined Closs was missing.

Sheriff's officials haven't provided the names or genders of the dead adults, nor said when or how they died. No information has been released on their relationship to Jayme.

Officials believe Jayme is in danger. Fitzgerald says an Amber Alert hasn't been issued because they have not identified a suspect.


10:07 a.m.

Authorities say a missing teenage girl could be in danger after two adults were found dead in a home in western Wisconsin.

Barron County sheriff's officials said in a news release that deputies responded to a 911 call asking for help at a home in Barron about 1 a.m. Monday. Deputies found the two bodies and determined 13-year-old Jayme Closs was missing.

Sheriff's officials haven't provided the names or genders of the dead adults, nor said when or how they died. No information has been released on their relationship to Jayme.

The teenager is described as 5-feet tall, 100 pounds with strawberry blond hair and green eyes.

Authorities are asking for the public's help in locating Jayme. Barron is 80 miles northeast of Minneapolis.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Barron County Press Conference

Law enforcement is providing an update on the search for Jayme Closs.

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Barron County news conference

Barron County officials provide an update on the Jayme Closs Amber Alert investigation.

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Tuesday, October 16, 2018