Reward for missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs doubles amid funeral for slain parents
ABC News (BAARON, Wis.) — The reward for bringing home 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who has been missing for almost two weeks and is believed to be in danger, has doubled while a grief-stricken community says its final goodbyes to her slain parents.
Authorities announced Friday that the reward amount had increased to $50,000 “with the help of Jennie-O Turkey Store,” the company that owns a turkey hatchery and processing plant where Jayme’s parents worked in Barron, Wisconsin. The reward was previously at $25,000.
“At this time, I want to thank Jennie-O and all of its employees for their cooperation during this tragic time for them with the loss of two of their employees and their willingness to help bring 13-year-old Jayme home,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said in a statement Friday.
Investigators believe Jayme was abducted Oct. 15 before dawn after her parents, James and Denise Closs, aged 56 and 46, were gunned down in their home in Barron.
A joint funeral service to commemorate the couple was planned for Saturday afternoon at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Cameron, Wisconsin. A private family burial will be held at a later date, according to an obituary posted by Rausch and Steel Funeral Home in Barron.
Thousands of volunteers helped investigators search a 5-mile radius around the Closs home earlier this week, but no evidence was found.
“It’s important to show people, you know, hope, and that we all care,” one of the volunteers, Josh Murphy, told ABC News on Tuesday. “It’s been chaos. A lot of people felt it. I can feel the pain of the family even though they’re not part of my family. That’s how I keep focused on showing hope.”
Authorities are looking for two vehicles of interest after cars were spotted near the Closs home around the time of the crime, the sheriff’s office announced Monday.
One vehicle was likely a red or orange 2000 to 2014 Dodge Challenger, based on surveillance footage from nearby homes and businesses. The second car was likely a black 2006 to 2010 Ford Edge or a black 2004 to 2010 Acura MDX, according to the sheriff’s office.
As of Thursday, authorities had received 1,740 tips and closed over 1,400 of them, according to Fitzgerald.
Investigators believe Jayme is still alive, and they won’t stop searching until they bring her home, the sheriff told ABC News on Tuesday.
“The hope is what we’re riding on,” Fitzgerald said.
On Oct. 15, just before 1 a.m. local time, someone called 911 from Denise Closs’ cellphone, and the 911 dispatcher heard “a lot of yelling,” according to records from the Barron County Sheriff’s Department obtained by ABC News. The dispatcher called the number back but was unable to leave a voicemail.
More attempts were made, but the phone went unanswered. Authorities also tried calling the home’s landline but it was disconnected, records show.
When authorities responded to the home minutes later, they found the front door kicked in and the couple had been shot to death.
Their daughter, Jayme, was believed to be home when they were killed but had been abducted by the time authorities arrived.
“An entire state has been racked with Jayme’s disappearance, and the death of her parents,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement Oct. 18.
An Amber Alert has been issued for Jayme. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office tip line at 1-855-744-3879 or email [email protected]
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