Jayme Closs Found Safe After Parents Murdered 3 Months Ago
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Wisconsin – New details are emerging about the dramatic moments when 13-year-old Jayme Closs was found alive nearly three months to the day she was abducted from her western Wisconsin home.
Jayme Closs was reported missing October 15 when her parents were murdered in their Barron home.
The news that everyone has been waiting for broke Thursday night. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald announced Jayme had been found safe in Douglas County, about an hour north of Barron.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme was being reunited with relatives Thursday night.
Sheriff Fitzgerald is holding a news conference on Friday at 10 a.m. Action 2 News plans to broadcast it live on WBAY-TV and WBAY.com.
Events started to unfold at about 4 p.m. Thursday. Peter and Kristin Kasinskas heard a frantic knock on the door of their home near Gordon in Douglas County. The couple told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that a neighbor was standing there with a “skinny, dirty girl with matted hair, wearing shoes too big for her feet.” The neighbor yelled for the Kasinskas to call 911.
The neighbor, who had been walking her dog, said Jayme approached her and said she wanted help. Click here for the full story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says deputies identified Jayme and 11 minutes later arrested a suspect in the town of Gordon.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirms that Barron County missing person JAYME CLOSS was located alive in the Town of Gordon in Douglas County at 4:43 pm and a suspect was taken into custody at 4:54 pm, also in the Town of Gordon.
Jayme’s aunt, Jennifer Smith, told KSTP Jayme was taken to a hospital to be checked out but authorities didn’t think she was injured.
Jayme’s grandfather, Robert Naiberg, said, “Everybody is so happy … We can’t believe it.”
Uncle Mike Closs said, “We pray every day, we just hope for her safe return and we can’t thank the community enough.”
Hours earlier, Sheriff Fitzgerald was quashing internet rumors that a heavy police presence in Walworth County, in southeastern Wisconsin, was related to the Closs investigation. He called that “false news.”
Following is the statement from Sheriff Fitzgerald Thursday night:
Jayme Closs has been located.
On Thursday evening the Barron County Sheriff’s Department was notified by the Douglas CO WI Sheriff’s Department that they had located Jayme Closs alive.
Shortly after this, a suspect was taken into custody in regards to this case. 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.
We are planning a press briefing approximately 10 am tomorrow at the Sheriff’s Department in Barron. We are receiving support from the FBI and WI DCI agents as this investigation continues.
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!
This case has been very trying on the family so please respect their privacy and we reunite them later tonight.
Smith told KSTP the family wants justice for her sister and brother-in-law who were murdered. She said the family is focused on supporting Jayme.
The young teenager was missing for 87 days. Her disappearance united people in Barron County and across the state. County buildings dedicated Christmas trees to Jayme, decorating them in her favorite colors and the word “Hope.”
Two thousand people — law enforcement officers, first responders, and volunteers — searched for possible clues. The FBI set up a hotline, and thousands of citizen tips were pursued. A $25,000 reward was offered and grew to $50,000. A news conference was held in October with Jayme’s aunt, Jennifer Smith, sending a personal message to Jayme: “Your dog, Molly, is waiting for you. She is sleeping in one of your sweatshirts. Grandpa needs new artwork on his fridge… I want that girl’s shopping date we planned.”
“Jayme, we need you here with us to fill that hole we have in our hearts. We all love you to the moon and back and we will never stop looking for you,” she said.
Sheriff Fitzgerald was planning a news conference next week to mark 90 days since her abduction.
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