Sheriff: Deaths of Missing Wisconsin Teen's Parents Ruled Homicides

January 11, 2019 06:22 AM

The deaths of two parents whose 13-year-old daughter has been missing for three days were ruled homicides, according to officials in Barron County, Wisconsin.

Authorities have been searching for Jayme Closs since early Monday when a 911 call led to the discovery of her parents' bodies. They were identified as 46-year-old Denise Closs and 56-year-old James Closs.


RELATED: 3rd Day of Search for Missing Wisconsin Teen, Roughly 200 Tips Received

Denise and James Closs died of gunshot wounds, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at a press conference Wednesday. Authorities believe Jayme was in the home at the time her parents were killed based on evidence at the scene and the cell phone call made from inside the home. The sheriff said in the four minutes it took officers to arrive at the Closs home, Jayme had vanished. 

"We believe she is still in danger," Fitzgerald said.

He told reporters that they didn't find a gun in the home and he can't confirm whether there was forced entry.

“Is it a random attack or is it a targeted attack? I don’t know that answer, that is why those leads are so important,” said Fitzgerald.

RELATED: Sheriff's Office IDs 2 Found Dead in Barron County Home, Amber Alert Remains in Place for Missing Teen

More than 400 tips have come in since Jayme Closs' disappearance, according to Fitzgerald, and more than 200 law enforcement personnel are involved in the search. More phone lines have been added to take leads. Also, footage from various surveillance cameras throughout Barron County has been collected to be reviewed by officers for possible clues to a suspect and vehicle. 

“One hundred percent we want to bring Jamey home and put that smile back in her family's hands,” said Fitzgerald.

"Here in Barron County, we all know that these things just don’t happen here," Fitzgerald said. "Further, we know in missing child investigations, every second counts."

Jayme is described as being 5 feet tall and 100 pounds, with strawberry blond hair and green eyes. Authorities said a tip placing the girl's whereabouts in Miami is not credible.

RELATED: Wisconsin Authorities Hope for 'Rapid Conclusion' in Missing Wisconsin Teen Case

"We have received no tips of a credible sighting," Fitzgerald said. 

The sheriff urged folks who planned to head out hunting, "check your cabins, walk your land, report anything you think is important to us."

Her disappearance and the tragic deaths of her parents are being felt throughout the Barron community.

”We just hope so much she finds her way back, it's so sad,” said David Smith, a substitute teacher for the Barron Area School District.

Both he and his wife told us this has shaken them.

“A very big tragedy,” said his wife Audrey Smith. “We pray for her safe return.”

Wednesday night, Fitzgerald will host a town hall for Barron County residents only to "have a private dialogue about how our community is doing." That event will be held at 1900 College Drive in the Conference Center.

A tip line for information on Jayme's disappearance has been set up at 1-855-744-3879.

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Anthony Brousseau & Beth McDonough & Callan Gray

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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