MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week marks two agonizing months without answers in Jayme Closs’ disappearance. The 13-year-old vanished after someone shot and killed her parents inside their home in Barron, Wisconsin.
Despite a ground search and thousands of tips, Jayme’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
WCCO’s Liz Collin traveled to Madison’s crime lab where forensic experts are searching for a break in the case.
Their work began at the Closs home in Barron within hours of getting the call.
One of Wisconsin’s Crime Scene Response Units was filled with equipment to document and package potential evidence.
Madison’s state crime lab has handled the bulk of the forensics in the Closs case. State law prevents them from sharing specifics, but the Barron County Sheriff’s Department confirms testing should be complete this week.
Crime Laboratory Bureau Director Nicole Roehm says her team responds to nearly 100 scenes across the state every year.
“Our number one priorities have to do with the most severe public safety threats. This case falls under this scenario,” Roehm said.
When we visited, they used training materials to show us the first stages of DNA screening.
“What she does is the initial steps in the testing process to determine what biological fluids might be present,” Roehm explained.
Different light sources are used to find any stains. The sheriff tells us more than 100 pieces of potential evidence from the Closs home have been sent to the lab. Roehm says such a high number is rare.
But when investigators are searching for a lead, they cast a wide net.
“When we’re dealing with high-profile, high-priority type cases, we’re giving it everything that we can. So we’re getting results in days to weeks,” Roehm said.
Technology has taken over much of the lab work. Data entry now dominates most of their duties to develop a DNA profile.
“To match at every location it’s hitting the jackpot,” she said.
As Bureau deputy director, Jennifer Naugle explains, there’s plenty that keeps them motivated.
“You’re creating an impact in real time for real people for real cases,” she said.
Just as they are again. This time for Jayme.
“All of us have joined this field because we want to have that impact,” Naugle said.
Crime lab technicians are testing the bullet casings from the Closs home in Milwaukee.
Jayme’s middle school will hold a tree-lighting ceremony in her honor Wedmesday night.