Authorities said Thursday they are scaling back their so-far fruitless search for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who has been missing for more than two weeks from the western Wisconsin home where her parents were killed.
Jayme has been missing since the early morning of Oct. 15, when an intruder broke into her home just west of Barron and shot both of her parents, 46-year-old Denise Closs and 56-year-old James Closs.
The Barron County Sheriff’s Office has fielded more than 2,100 tips, organized two ground searches in the area and made repeated pleas for anyone to provide a breakthrough in finding the girl and whoever killed her parents. There is a $50,000 reward for her return.
However, the Sheriff’s Office has yet to verify any credible information about the teen’s whereabouts.
Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said the “declining number of tips” has prompted “us to shrink our operations” from a round-the-clock Emergency Operations Center to a “more deliberate and methodical effort to progress the investigation.”
The sheriff emphasized, however, that “just because the posture of our operations center has transitioned, does not mean the tips should stop. We still have a team on-call to handle them as they come in.
“Please continue to call in your tips. There is a tip out there that will help us solve this case and bring Jayme home.”
Fitzgerald said he is convinced “there is something out there” that can lead to finding Jayme, given all the digital breadcrumbs in this world from smartphones, the internet and video surveillance.
“We’re in this digital world, and we just can’t get it,” the sheriff said, adding that he and others in this effort to find Jayme start every day with that thought.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call at her house Oct. 15 and found the door kicked in and her parents shot dead inside. Investigators have said Jayme Closs is not a suspect in her parents’ killings.
Fitzgerald said investigators are still on the lookout for a 2008-2014 red or orange Dodge Challenger and a black SUV: either a 2006-2010 Ford Edge or a 2004-2010 Acura MDX. Cameras on homes and businesses in the area picked up those cars.
Anyone with information about Jayme’s disappearance is urged to contact the tip line at 1-855-744-3879 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.