Sheriff: Jayme Closs was home at time of murders

Published: Oct. 17, 2018 at 4:34 PM CDT
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Authorities believe a missing and endangered teen from Western Wisconsin was at home when her parents were shot to death.

On Wednesday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said 56-year-old James Closs and 46-year-old Denise Closs deaths were ruled a double homicide.

“Her parents died from gunshot wounds that's why we are ruling this a homicide. There was no gun found on the scene. We believe Jayme was home based on the evidence in our case. Some of it from that 911 call and some of it is still part of the active investigation and we're not able to comment on why we believe that,” said Fitzgerald.

On Monday, dispatchers received a 911 from the Closs home at 1:00 a.m. Fitzgerald says the call came from a cell phone. He says no one was communicating with dispatchers, but it was obvious a significant disturbance was occurring in the home. Deputies arrived four minutes after the call ended, but Jayme was no longer at the home.

"There was no one on site, no vehicles in the immediate area when our deputies arrived on scene," said Fitzgerald.

At this point, investigators don't know if it was a targeted attack or if it was a random incident. Fitzgerald said Jayme is not considered a suspect in her parents' deaths.

As of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff's department has received more than 400 tips in the case.

“I just want to bring Jayme home, that's what I want," said Fitzgerald. "Every second does count that's why we do things like this [press conference] to get that information out to people, give them something to do and ask them to call in that tip. We've explained that time and again, that every behavioral change in someone is important."

Authorities from the FBI and the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is helping the sheriff's department with the investigation. Fitzgerald is asking people in the area for help.

“Walk your properties,” he said. “There will be many hunters in the area in the upcoming weekend and daily. Check your cabins, walk your land and report anything you think is important to us.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the tipline at 1-855-744-3879.

On Wednesday night, the sheriff's office held a town hall meeting in Rice Lake for Barron community members. The meeting was closed to media members.