Washington: When Jayme Closs’s teacher asked her and the other the students to consider how they would spend $1 million (Dh3.67 million), the 13-year-old had a pretty simple answer.
The blonde-haired, green-eyed teenager, who has been described as a “sweet,” “quiet” and “loyal friend,” wrote that she would “feed the hungry and give the rest to the poor,” Diane Tremblay, superintendent of the Barron Area School District, said Tuesday during a news conference.
Jayme disappeared this week from her home in Barron, Wisconsin, where her parents were discovered dead in the early hours of Monday morning, authorities said. It’s not clear what happened to the girl. Investigators have said they think she may have been home when her parents were killed and taken in the moments after the attack, but have not released further details.
For the third straight day Wednesday, local law enforcement and the FBI were searching for the teen.
“I haven’t seen anything like this in rural western Wisconsin. We just don’t see this,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at a news conference, according to ABC News. “We want to bring Jayme home.”
“Every second counts in this case,” he added.
Fitzgerald told reporters Tuesday that Jayme is “missing and endangered,” noting that there is an active Amber Alert for the teen.
Authorities have described Jayme as a 5-foot-tall, 45kg 13-year-old girl with strawberry-blonde hair and green eyes. Jayme had been seen at a birthday party Sunday afternoon and relatives told CBS News that she seemed well.
The tragedy unfolded about 1am Monday with a cryptic 911 call to police.
“We could hear yelling in the background on this 911 call,” Fitzgerald, the sheriff, said Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show. He added that “no one interacted with our dispatchers, so it was just kind of an open line, where we could hear different things in the background.”
Officials with the sheriff’s department said in a statement that when deputies arrived at the home in Barron, 64km from the Minnesota border, they discovered two dead adults, who were later identified by police as Jayme’s father and mother, 56-tear-old James Closs and 46-year-old Denise Closs.
Jayme was gone.
FBI officials in Milwaukee said on social media at the time that it appeared that Jayme may have been “taken” from her home, “likely with a gun.”
Fitzgerald said on the “Today” show that Jayme is not a suspect in the case.
“She’s a 13-year-old girl that we believe may have been at the scene when this took place,” he said.
Authorities have not released details about the deaths - including how the parents were killed or how long they had been dead. (An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, according to local news reports.) And although authorities said they have traced the cellphone used to make the 911 call, they said they could not provide further information about who may have made the call.
Fitzgerald told reporters during the news conference Tuesday that investigators have received more than 200 tips and are following up on them.
“Every minute does count. That’s why this operation is running 24/7,” he said.
He added that “Jayme is out there and we want to find her. That’s our goal.”
Ed Downing Sr., who was identified as a family member, said on the “Today” show that he hopes authorities can bring Jayme home safely.
“She was just a simple little small-town girl with a lot of big dreams, I think. You know?” Downing said. “I sure hope she lives to see them.”
— Washington Post