Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who was declared “missing and endangered” after her parents were found brutally murdered in their home in October has been found.
“On Thursday evening the Barron County Sheriff’s Department was notified by the Douglas CO WI Sheriff’s Department that they had located Jayme Closs alive,” Barron County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
Barron County Sheriff’s Department also revealed a suspect has been taken into custody.
“We want to thank the Douglas Co Sheriff’s Department and agencies assisting them tonight. We also want to thank all the Law Enforcement agencies across the state and county that have assisted us in this case. We also could not have endured this case without the support of the public and I want to thank them for all the support and help.”
“We promised to bring Jayme home and tonight we get to fulfill that promise,” the statement concluded.
It is not immediately clear where or how Jayme was found. Barron County Sheriff’s Office plans on holding a press briefing Friday morning.
Jayme’s aunt Sue has spoken out about the news, telling WCCO-TV that her niece is in the hospital. Following her release, Jayme will get the chance to reunite with her family.
“There was rumors earlier today, and I prayed and prayed and they come to not be true,” Sue told the outlet. “And I just shut myself totally down. I thought today was going to be the day, and then I find out two hours later she’s found and I just cannot believe this.”
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has also spoken out. “Jayme is an example of why we never lose hope and never stop search,” NCMEC tweeted.
On Oct. 15, officers responding to a 911 call for help arrived at the home of James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46. Inside they found two bodies fatally shot. That same day, Jayme vanished.
Barron County authorities have said Jayme was home when her parents were killed. On Oct. 15, just before 1 a.m., authorities received a 911 call in which nobody spoke to the dispatcher but “a lot of yelling” could be heard,” according to a dispatch log released by the Barron County Sheriff’s Department and obtained by CNN.The call came from Denise’s phone, according to the dispatch logs. When police arrived at the family home, they found the bodies of Denise and her 56-year-old husband, James Closs — but no sign of Jayme.
The dispatch logs reveal that a responding officer found “the door [to the Closs home had] been kicked in.” Previously, Jayme’s relatives told CBS News the front door to the home was shot in.
Barron Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald previously said at a news conference that Jayme is not a suspect.
Both Jayme and Denise have been described as quiet, kind, religious and giving, an example of how a loving mom raised her daughter with her own good values.
“They were just two peas in a pod,” family friend Melissa Salmonson tells PEOPLE, describing the pair as “almost inseparable” and saying Denise “was pretty quiet and shy like Jayme — they were similar.”
“The family would help anyone, anytime, with anything they needed.”
She describes Denise as a mother whose involvement showed how much she cared about her daughter: “A lot of parents will drop [their] kids off at activities when they get to be a little older. But Denise was always there. If Jayme went to the roller rink with friends, Denise was there.”
Both James and Denise were long-time employees of the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron. The company released a statement expressing sorrow at their deaths.
“Our thoughts are with the Closs family and the entire Barron community,” the statement reads. “This is a difficult time for our entire team and we are mourning this loss and are still processing this terrible tragedy. We are also hopeful for the safe return of their daughter, Jayme, and are keeping her and the Closs family in our thoughts.”
Federal authorities expanded the nationwide search for Jayme and more than 100 officers — local, state and with the FBI — worked on the case, CBS News reported.
These ‘missing kids’ stories rarely have a happy ending — so we’re happy to hear she was found.