After 87 days of questions, numerous searches and thousands of tips, missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs has been found alive. Jayme vanished on October 15, the same day her parents were found fatally shot in their northwestern Wisconsin home.
Here’s a timeline of her disappearance:
Authorities are called to the Closs home in Barron, 90 miles east of Minneapolis. There, they find Jayme’s parents, James and Denise Closs, shot dead.
Deputies arrive after a 911 call from Denise Closs’ cellphone. They find Jayme’s parents, but the teen is missing. On the 911 call, no one talked, but the dispatcher “could hear a lot of yelling.” Detectives start an effort to find Jayme that includes thousands of tips, surveillance videos and massive searches with the help of volunteers. Law enforcement agencies across the country are put on alert as the case makes national news.
Two days have passed since Jayme disappeared. But as investigators scramble to find her, few answers have emerged. The FBI pleads for more help in finding her as hundreds of tips pour in. Investigators are trying to find out not only where Jayme is, but also what led to her parents’ deaths in the small city of Barron.
A week after Jayme’s disappearance, a local sheriff seeks 2,000 volunteers to help search for her, the equivalent of two-thirds of the population of Barron.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says the volunteers will help authorities in an expanded routine search of the area around the crime scene. Barron, a city of less 3 square miles, has a population of about 3,300.
The same day, people gather at Barron High School football stadium for “A Gathering of Hope,” an event to honor Jayme.
The sheriff also releases photos of two “vehicles of interest” captured on surveillance footage near the Closs home during the killings. Fitzgerald said they don’t know the vehicles’ license plates.
As agonized relatives await word on Jayme, her aunt pleads with whoever knows where she is to contact the sheriff’s department.
She sends a message to her niece. “Jayme, we need you here with us to fill that hole we have in our hearts,” Jennifer Smith says. “We all love you to the moon and back. And we will never stop looking for you. … Your dog, Molly, is waiting for you. She’s sleeping in one of your sweatshirts.”
The FBI offers $25,000 for information leading to Jayme’s location.
Jayme’s parents are laid to rest in a funeral attended by loved ones and strangers alike.
Wisconsin investigators see via motion-activated cameras a man in a skull cap break into Jayme’s home through a patio door, according to a criminal complaint.
Law enforcement officials respond to a call and set up a perimeter around the home. They order the man to come out with his hands up. The man concedes he had broken into the home and stolen items, a criminal complaint says. In his coat pocket, a sergeant finds several items, including a small pink tank top and girl’s underwear, according to the complaint.
The man is identified as Kyle Jaenke, 32, of Cameron, Wisconsin. “The defendant was asked how many items he took and he stated three or four items, including some underwear that he believed belonged to Jayme,” the complaint says.
The same day, Jaenke is charged with breaking into the home and stealing girls’ underwear and other clothing, but he’s cleared of involvement in her disappearance. He says he did not know the Closses and he stole items that he thought the family wouldn’t miss, according to the complaint.
Wisconsin authorities urge hunters to be on the lookout for clues on the missing teen.
“As hunting season opens on Saturday, we ask that hunters report anything suspicious such as clothing, weapons or anything you think it just not right on your property,” the Barron County Sheriff’s Department says.
Deputies said they’ve not given up on finding the teen, and the cases remains a top priority for them.
“We continue to follow up on leads, expand and view our recovered video from the area and explore all digital evidence,” they say.
Jayme has been missing for nearly two months now, and the community is finding ways to pay tribute to her.
Holiday decorations take on a new meaning for local authorities in Barron County, where the Clerk of Courts’ Office dedicates its Christmas tree to her.
The tree is displayed in the county’s Justice Center building. The decorations spell out Jayme’s name in big, glittery letters, and they include green bulbs and ribbons. The color green is often used to raise awareness for missing children.
Jayme is found alive.
She was found in Gordon, Wisconsin, and a suspect was taken into custody minutes later. Jayme’s aunt, Sue Allard, said her niece was in the hospital Thursday night. Gordon is about 70 miles north of where she was last seen.
No more details were immediately available, but authorities plan to hold a news conference Friday morning.