Teenager was located in Douglas County on Jan. 10.
Trent Tetzlaff, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GORDON, Wis. — Thursday evening, a skinny girl with matted hair emerged from a wooded area in rural Wisconsin and told a dog walker she was Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old who had been missing since her parents were found shot dead in October.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on its website that Jayme was found in the town of Gordon at 4:43 p.m. and a suspect was taken into custody at 4:54 p.m. The suspect’s name wasn’t immediately released.
Gordon is about 40 miles south of Lake Superior and about 65 miles north of Barron, Jayme’s hometown. The town is home to about 645 people in a heavily forested region where logging is the top industry. During the winter, many homes are left vacant.
Thursday evening, Jayme escaped from a home in Gordon and asked Jeanne Nutter, who was walking her golden retriever, for help.
“I went to her and she just sort of grabbed onto me and she told me who she was,” Nutter told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.
Nutter said Closs appeared to be physically fine, but in shock.
“She’s a traumatized child,” she said.
Nutter took Jayme to the nearby home of Peter Kasinskas, saying “This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!” Kasinskas told The Star Tribune of Minneapolis. Kasinskas said that Jayme didn’t know where she was but believed she had been in the area for most of her disappearance.
Authorities blocked all streets leading to a cabin in Eau Claire Acres Circle on Thursday night.
Jayme was taken to a local hospital for the night and reunited with family.
Jayme’s aunt, Kelly Engelhardt told KARE-TV in Minneapolis that she’s prayed for this moment “every single day.”
Elizabeth Smart, an outspoken advocate on kidnapping after her much publicized captivity in 2002 shook the nation, called the news of Jayme’s safety a “miracle” on Friday.
Smart posted on Instagram: “What a brave, strong, and powerful survivor!!!! No matter what may unfold in her story let’s all try to remember that this young woman has SURVIVED and whatever other details may surface the most important will still remain that she is alive.”
The FBI and Wisconsin’s Division of Criminal Investigation are working with local authorities on the case and provided few details on the case. A press conference is scheduled for Friday morning.
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Jayme has been missing since Oct. 15. Around 1 a.m. that day, police received a 911 call that led them to the Closs home, where parents James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, were dead from gunshot wounds. Jayme was missing and there weren’t any solid leads on her whereabouts. Hours later, local authorities said the girl was in danger and asked the public for help finding her. An Amber Alert was also issued.
Since then, authorities and missing persons groups have been looking for Jayme.
Contributing: Haley BeMiller, Green Bay Press-Gazette. Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets
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