‘Call 911’: Neighbor speaks out about finding missing teen whose parents were murdered
releon8211/iStock(GORDON, Wis.) — A 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who police say was kidnapped after the murder of her parents in October was found late Thursday afternoon by a woman outside of Gordon — 70 miles away from the girl’s Barron home.
Kristin Kasinskas was just getting home from work when her dog started barking because someone was walking up her driveway, she told ABC News. It was her neighbor — along with a girl with matted hair and shoes too big for her.
“She came to the door, she knocked, then she actually just opened the door and said, ‘Call 911, this is Jayme Closs.’ We recognized Jayme immediately, because obviously, we’ve seen her picture everywhere, everywhere,” Kasinskas said.
Jayme had come up to the neighbor, who has not been publicly identified, while the neighbor was walking a dog, Kasinskas said. Jayme did not explain how she escaped from apparent captivity, Kasinskas added.
“I think [Jayme] looks thinner than what her pictures showed,” Kasinskas said. “She definitely looked unkempt, kind of — she didn’t have shoes that were hers. She was wearing really big shoes that she obviously took from wherever she came from. She looked, overall, in good condition, just a little unclean, like she’d been held captive.”
In the early hours of Oct. 15, police responded to a 911 call featuring “a lot of yelling,” a record from the Barron County Sheriff’s Department obtained by ABC News said.
Police arrived to find James and Denise Closs, 56 and 46, shot and killed in their home. Jayme was missing and believed to have been abducted.
On Thursday, Kasinskas said she and the neighbor sat Jayme on a couch and called 911, with someone staying on the line with them until police arrived and took her to a hospital about half an hour later. In the meantime, they talked, Kasinskas added.
“She was very sweet,” Kasinskas said. “I asked her some questions about if she’d ever heard of Gordon, Wisconsin. She had not. Stuff like that. Not anything real specific, but she did talk to us a little, talked to my kids a little bit. I introduced her to my new puppy. We kept it very simple and just very calm until the cops got here to take her.”
Jayme told the women she had been at a house a few down from Kasinskas’ and that she hadn’t known the person who was holding her, Kasinskas recalled, but that it was the same person who killed her parents.
“We probably have walked our dog by that house on numerous occasions,” Kasinskas said, although she added she was not familiar with who lived there.
The neighbor was “really calm and collected,” Kasinskas said, and “did a very good job getting her here, keeping her calm.”
But underneath the surface, the women were shocked, Kasinskas said. She told ABC News the moment felt “like it wasn’t real,” especially since the community was so familiar with Jayme’s story and had been keeping eyes out for her.
Kasinskas’ children recognized Jayme immediately as well — the school district had just done an “event for hope” for her, the mom said.
Kasinskas believes her neighbor came to her home “partly because she knew us, of course, but I think she just felt safer knowing my husband would be here, that we’d all be here doing this together rather than her alone.”
The Barron County Sheriff’s Department confirmed on Thursday night that a suspect was taken into custody. A press briefing is scheduled for 10 a.m. local time on Friday.
Jennifer Smith, Jayme’s aunt and godmother, told ABC News they will be reunited on Friday.
“We are just happy everyone kept praying and didn’t give up hope, like we didn’t,” Smith said. “A lot of happy tears in this house tonight.”
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