BARRON – A missing Barron teenager was still at home when her parents were shot to death early Monday, the county sheriff said Wednesday.
Officials determined that James and Denise Closs died from gunshot wounds and ruled their deaths as homicides, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at an afternoon news conference. Further details about the autopsies were not available, and the murder weapon has not been found.
The sheriff’s department arrived early Monday at the Closs’ home at 1268 U.S. 8, about a mile west of the Barron city limits, after dispatchers received a 911 call from an unknown person. Officials found the bodies of James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, but their 13-year-old daughter was nowhere to be found.
Officials have said the 911 call came from inside the home and identified the cell phone it came from, but declined to say who owns it. The caller did not speak to dispatchers.
This tiny western Wisconsin community is reeling as a nationwide search for a 13-year-old girl continued Tuesday, a day after police found her parents dead and the girl missing.
Wausau Daily Herald
Fitzgerald on Wednesday said that information from the phone call and from inside the home led investigators to conclude that Jayme Closs was home at the time her parents were killed.
Authorities issued a national Amber alert for Jayme Monday afternoon, and the search for her continued Wednesday. Officials believe she’s in danger but Fitzgerald said they expect to find her alive.
The Miami Police Department tweeted Monday that Jayme may have been spotted nearby in a black Ford Explorer with Wisconsin plates with two well-dressed, bearded men. But Fitzgerald said Wednesday that they haven’t received any tips of a credible sighting, and on Tuesday he cast doubt on the Miami report.
The murders and subsequent disappearance of Jayme have rattled the quiet town of fewer than 3,500 people. Barron is about 45 miles northwest of Eau Claire and 80 miles northeast of Minneapolis.
With strawberry-blond hair and green eyes, Jayme has been described as a sweet, quiet girl who runs cross country and loves to dance. Her parents were longtime employees of Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron.
The sheriff scheduled a town hall Wednesday night exclusively for Barron residents to have a dialogue about how the community is coping. Victim assistance personnel were to be available to address wellness concerns.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the tip line at 855-744-3879.
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