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Sheriff widens focus of Jayme Closs investigation

In a Facebook post Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald asked anyone who has spent time with members of the Closs family recently, or has ever had a misunderstanding with members of the family, to contact authorities immediately,

BARRON, Wis. - The Barron County Sheriff's Department is widening its focus on the Day 5 of the search for missing teen Jayme Closs, asking the public for more information on her parents and the dynamics of the Closs family.

In a Facebook post Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald writes "If you spent time with members of the Closs family recently, or if you have ever had a misunderstanding with members of the Closs family, or know someone who has, please call the tip line (1-855-744-3879)."

Fitzgerald says the law enforcement team assembled to find Jayme and investigate the murder of her parents has now received more than 1,000 tips, and conducted hundreds of interviews in the case. The team has also added an email address which will accept any photos or videos related to possible sightings.

In his post the sheriff is also urging residents to focus on people in their own community, emphasizing that people often act differently after committing a violent act. "You may have observed such behaviors and not realized it at the time," Fitzgerald writes. "We are asking you to think back to earlier this week and let us know if you’ve noticed any of the following changes in routine."

  • They will miss work. The absence will be sudden and unplanned. They may either be a “no show” or they may offer a reasonable excuse such as illness, death in the family, car trouble, etc.
  • They may miss scheduled appointments. These appointments or commitments may include medical appointments, a regular responsibility to a friend or family member, like caring for an elderly relative.
  • They may suddenly leave town, either with no explanation or with some reasonable explanation.
  • There may be changes in their usual consumption of alcohol and/or drugs. This could be an increase or a decrease in drinking or drug use.
  • They may make a change in how they look or make it difficult to identify them, such as changing the look of their vehicle or selling or getting rid of their vehicle.
  • They may pay too much or too little attention to the progress of this investigation that seems out of the ordinary. They may try to find new information about the investigation or, they may quickly turn off the news and social media or try to redirect conversations about the victims or their families.
  • They may be anxious, nervous, or irritable. They may withdraw from normal activities

Friday's message follows a search in Barron Thursday conducted by more than 100 volunteers who walked fields, ditches and woods searching for any possible evidence that could lead investigators to 13-year-old Jayme Closs.

No evidence had been recovered as of 4 p.m. on Thursday, according to a press release from the Barron County Sheriff Department. At that time, the search was still underway.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald put a call out on the department's Facebook page, asking for 100 volunteers to assist.

"We are requesting the public’s assistance in conducting a routine search for articles of evidentiary value that may be related to the incident," he wrote.

The search began at the intersection of Highway 8 and 16th Street. Volunteers had to bring a photo ID and had to be able to walk on uneven terrain.

Press ReleaseOctober 18, 2018Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald would like to thank the community for their continued support...

Also on Thursday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice sent therapists and comfort dogs to help students at Closs' school.

The state DOJ said in an announcement Thursday it is also sending school resource officers to the Barron School District.

The superintendent for the school district Diane Trembley extends her "sincere gratitude for the continued support from law enforcement, businesses, families and community. [She asks] that you continue to respect the privacy of our students, staff and the family of Jayme Closs."

Authorities have been searching for Closs since deputies responded to a 911 call early Monday and found her parents dead in their home in Barron. They were identified as James and Denise Closs.

"An entire state has been racked with Jayme’s disappearance, and the death of her parents," said Attorney General Brad Schimel. "These trained therapists, school resource officers and therapy dogs are going to provide the schoolchildren and staff in Barron the support they need to get through the next few days."

On Wednesday, the Barron County Sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald, said their deaths have been classified as a homicide. He said both were shot to death.

Jayme Closs has been ruled out a suspect and investigators believe she's in danger.