A mother and father are dead and their 13-year-old daughter is missing from the family’s home in northwestern Wisconsin, where authorities were urgently turning to the public in hopes of finding the young teen before harm comes to her.
A 911 call to the Barron County Sheriff’s Office shortly before 1 a.m. Monday brought deputies to a home in the 1200 block of Hwy. 8, just west of the city of Barron, where they found the bodies of 56-year-old James Closs and 46-year-old Denise Closs.
Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said that while “gunshots are involved” in the deaths, he’s not ready to say more about the circumstances inside the home, roughly 80 miles northeast of the Twin Cities.
Daughter Jayme Closs “is missing from the residence” and her life “is considered endangered,” he said.
“We’ve searched the area around the residence,” Fitzgerald said in an interview with reporters outside his office. “We’ve used drones, we’ve used infrared. We’ve searched [her] school and met with her friends.”
Meanwhile, roughly 1,700 miles to the south in Miami, police there posted late Monday on Twitter about a possible sighting of the teen earlier in the day that includes a specific make and model of vehicle and a license plate.
Jayme “may have been seen in the afternoon of 10/15/18, in the area of N.W. 27 Ave and 11 St.,” the tweet began. “If it was her, she was in a black Ford Explorer with a possible WI plate of I60WER. If you have any information please call 911 immediately.”
A check of the plate on two public websites comes back empty for the license plate in the tweet, but changing the letter “I” to the numeral “1” in online searches does come back as a 2017 Ford Explorer.
The heavily traveled location referenced in the tweet is about 3 miles east of Miami International Airport.
In Barron, Sheriff Fitzgerald said the case is “taking a toll” on the men and women in his office dealing with such urgent circumstances.
“We’re tired, we have families, but we are pushing through that,” he said. “It’s frustrating when we don’t have a lead. That’s why I’m begging and pleading with the public to help us share this [information].”
The sheriff said that the FBI, state investigators and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are assisting in the case.
The national center said Monday afternoon that an Amber Alert has been issued in an effort to spread the word about Jayme’s disappearance.
The center’s notice said the teen was taken from her home early Monday morning, “likely with a gun.”
Jayme is described as white, 5 feet, 100 pounds, with green eyes and blond or strawberry blond hair.
Anyone with information that could lead to her being found is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 715-537-3106 or 911.
Fitzgerald said, “We have a lot of unknowns in this case,” including who made the call to 911. “That’s the frustrating part.”
Authorities have no suspect or vehicle information, the sheriff said, adding that Jayme is not considered a suspect in the killings.
“Our main objective is to locate the 13-year-old,” he said.