BARRON, Wis. (WCCO) – About 2,000 community members came together on Tuesday in the search for a missing Wisconsin teenager.
Investigators believe Jayme Closs was taken from her home near Barron last Monday. Her parents, James and Denise, were shot to death in their home. Their funeral is planned for Saturday.
The Barron County Sheriff’s Office says tips led them to call for another ground search on Tuesday, where they asked for 2,000 volunteers. The community answered the call.
They were asked to keep an eye out for anything suspicious, anything that could help them find Jayme.
Volunteers Search For Jayme Closs
“You got to do what you can to help,” said volunteer Vickie Longhenry.
She started her morning just like roughly 2,000 other volunteers did: Navigating fields, forests and ditches in search of clues related to Jayme Closs’ disappearance and the deaths of her parents. Volunteers broke into 14 separate groups, looking for items as small as hair ties — things a 13 year old might carry.
“It’s just so surreal being out there, you know,” Longhenry said. “And you have your heart right here the whole time and every time it doesn’t find, you don’t find one little thing, you just you don’t want to lose hope.”
There was a map for each group. The volunteers then drove to their assigned areas, all within a several mile circumference of the Closs home.
One group made their way through thick underbrush into a wooded area, with orders to place a small orange flag next to anything that was out of place.
If there were cellphones, guns, clothing, really anything pertinent to a young girl. Their search continued onto wide open farm fields Jenny Weber came from Menomonie.
“There is a little girl missing and if it was mine I’d want the world looking for her. So I’m able to be here,” Weber said.
Maverik Nelson came from Hastings.
“I have a 9-year-old little boy and anyone that has children or grandchildren or whomever, it’s a little girl that’s lost and we need to try to bring her back home,” Nelson said.
And many were from Barron County, shaken by the murders of James and Denise Closs, and Jayme’s disappearance.
“It’s unbelievable. We’re a small community and for something of this magnitude to happen here is just horrific,” resident Ruth Madison said.
Back at the staging area, Salvation Army volunteers worked to keep everyone fed and hydrated, with the food prepared by local businesses, churches and civic groups.
“Each bag had a sandwich, chips, a cookie and fruit,” said Duana Bremer of the Salvation Army. “This is really heartwarming because you’re looking at every aspect of life helping.”
As the day came to an end, Longhenry was devastated. No new evidence was found, but her faith remains strong as ever.
“Search after search, if that’s what it takes, I’ll be out,” Longhenry said
The Barron County Sheriff’s Office says it has received more than 1,400 tips in the Jayme Closs case. Authorities have invested 1,100 of those, and are working the others. Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says weary law enforcement officers got a boost from the big turnout.
“I can’t thank, thank the people enough for their support, their hope, their love. I believe she’s still alive. I believe she’s still out there and the hope is what we’re riding on and that’s what we’re going to go with,” Fitzgerald said.
Authorities say Closs remains missing and endangered. The sheriff’s office says none of the items collected in searches so far appear to be connected to her disappearance.
The Barron County Sheriff’s Office has scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. Wednesday.