MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The search for missing Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs intensifies as people from her hometown pray for a safe return.
An inaudible 911 call Monday morning led police to her home near Barron, where they discovered her parents — 46-year-old Denise and 56-year-old James — dead inside.
Officials say gunshots were involved, but didn’t describe the situation further. Jayme was nowhere to be found. Authorities believe she was in the home when her parents were killed. She was last seen Sunday afternoon at a family gathering she attended.
More than 100 law enforcement officers and their dogs combed neighborhoods and searched for clues Tuesday. Baron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said a “24/7 operation” is in effect to find Jayme.
“Individuals who commit acts of violence may display changes in their behavior and individuals around that person may observe those changes. They will recognize the changes and even question the individual about it, but may not realize those changes are the person’s involvement in a crime,” Fitzgerald said.
He said a person involved in a crime may miss work or other commitments, may leave town or change their appearance.
“Every second counts in this case,” Fitzgerald said. “When a child like Jayme is missing, we ask you to observe this behavior and report it to us.”
Police say they’ve gotten more than 200 tips, and the Amber alert web page for Jayme has more than 30,000 hits.
“Jayme’s out there, we want to find her and that’s our goal,” Fitzgerald said. “We have every resource that is available across the country working this case. Our No. 1 goal is to bring Jayme home.”
As they try to uncover new leads and clues, family, friends and community members say all they can do right now is pray and hope. As night fell over St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Cameron, car after car pulled in. The community is distraught over the Closs family.
With no arrests, and no suspects, family friend Melissa Salmonson said they feel helpless.
“And I think being able to come together as family and friends and being able to pray together and just feel like maybe those prayers are helping in some way, will maybe just make us feel a little better,” Salmonson said.
She said she feels terrified for Jayme, but is channeling that fear through blue and green ribbons. Salmonson said blue was Jayme’s favorite color, and green represents missing children. The ribbons were given to those who attended the vigil. Salmonson won’t take her’s off until Jayme is found.
“We just need to bring her home,” Salmonson said.
Family members told CBS News over the phone that the Closs’s front door was shot in. Investigators added that they know whose cellphone the 911 call came from, but they are not saying who at this time. Authorities are waiting on autopsy reports for her parents’ causes of death.
Jennie-O Turkey Store President Steve Lykken and Barron plant manager Chad Nisbit released a statement about the deceased couple, as they had both been employed by the company.
“Our thoughts are with the Closs family and the entire Barron community. Jim and Denise were long-time members of the Jennie-O Turkey Store family. This is a difficult time for our entire team and we are mourning this loss and are still processing this terrible tragedy. We are also hopeful for the safe return of their daughter, Jayme, and are keeping her and the Closs family in our thoughts.”
The Barron Area School District said it will have increased police presence at all of its buildings Tuesday, as a precaution. Superintendent Diane Tremblay told the media Tuesday that Closs is a member of her school’s cross-country team.
“Jayme is a sweet, quiet girl who is a loyal friend, and loves to dance,” Tremblay said. “[She’s] a wonderful addition to our Barron Area School District family.”
Police in Florida have reported a possible sighting of Closs in Miami Monday afternoon. Someone reported seeing her at a gas station, in a black Ford Explorer with two well-dressed men. Authorities do not believe the tip is credible.
Closs is described as standing is 5-feet-tall and weighing 100 pounds. She has green eyes and blonde hair. Fitzgerald said Closs is described as sweet, shy and likes dancing and sports.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the Barron County Sheriff’s Office at 715-537-3106. The tip line is 1-855-744-3879.