A 13-year-old girl missing for almost three months after her parents were shot dead has been found, her hair matted and wearing oversized shoes. "Jayme Closs was located alive," the sheriff's office in Douglas County, Wisconsin, said in a statement late Thursday.
It said she was located in the town of Gordon, near Lake Superior and northeast of Minneapolis. A suspect was in custody. Douglas County is just north of Barron County, where Closs lived. The sheriff's department in Barron County was set to release more details on Friday after describing the investigation as "very fluid and active" following the suspect's arrest. The Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis reported on its website that a neighbour walking a dog knocked on the door of Kristin and Peter Kasinskas's home east of Gordon. With the neighbour was a gaunt, bedraggled girl with matted hair and shoes too big for her feet.
"This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!" the neighbour said. In a phone interview with the newspaper, the unidentified neighbour said that Closs "came up to me and said she wanted help." In the wooded area, which has few year-round residents, police blocked access to a cabin believed to be that of the 21-year-old suspect, the newspaper said. The FBI had been searching nationwide for Closs and described her as "endangered." She was believed to have witnessed the murders of her parents but was not considered a suspect based on evidence recovered at the scene, police said at the time.
Closs disappeared after police received a 911 call from a cellphone inside her home where James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, were found shot dead. Police did not know what happened or the motive for the killings and a murder weapon was not recovered, according to US media reports at the time. CBS News reported that the family's front door had been shot open. The Star Tribune said Closs's aunt Sue Allard sobbed upon hearing the news that the teen had been found. "Praise the Lord," she said. "It's the news we've been waiting on for three months. I can't wait to get my arms around her."
(With inputs from agencies.)